rexcritchlow

Thoughts from the "King of the Hill"

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FREE Download: My novel “For the Love of Pete”

Posted by Rex Critchlow on May 24, 2012


For the Love of Pete is a novel I wtote in 2007, but did not publish. It was intended to be the first in a five or sever novel series. In all honesty, I have been unable to generate interest in the publishing world, so, after careful thought, I have decided to share this novel with the public at no charge. If you enjoy my work and have contacts that can help my writing career, please share my work with them.

There is no obligation, but if you like my work and have the means, a donation of $5 would be very welcome. They may be sent via paypal to rc@leonardo21.com or mailed to Rex Critchlow, P.O. Box 3532, Terre Haute IN 47803-3532.

Free Download: For the Love of Pete.pdf

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Posted in For the Love of Pete, My Novels | Leave a Comment »

Help Wanted – Web Developer, Graphic Artist, Database Administrator & Marketing Guru

Posted by Rex Critchlow on February 3, 2012


The CONCEPT is Simple – Bring together a team of brilliant, passionate visionaries with diverse skill sets to create one of the most amazing, productive and exciting web experiences imaginable.
The GOAL is Ambitious – To build on the ideas of every team member and build this venture into a Fortune 500 company in ten years or less.

The REWARD is Infinite – If you are Brilliant, Passionate, and a Visionary and have the skills required to fill one of the following positions, you may be one of the people selected to join this team. Upon completion of the first project, every successful team members will become a partner in this ambitious venture.

Joining the team requires:

  • NO FINANCIAL INVESTMENT
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Unwavering confidence in your ability to lead and succeed
  • Copious talent and knowledge of your field/specialty
  • An infectious, unquenchable positive mental attitude

Skill Sets/Positions Available:

  • Web Developer – Applications will be cloud based. Languages to be determined.
  • Graphic Artist – Creative and capable of creating web and print media graphics
  • Marketing Guru – SEO, Social Media, Online and Print Media
  • Database Administrator – Cloud/Web Application database creation & management

If you wish to be considered for any of these positions, e-mail your resume and a short essay (500 – 1000 words) on why you should be selected to be an executive in a Fortune 500 company. Submit the resume and essay in .DOC, .PDF or .TXT format to Rex Critchlow.

 

Posted in Business | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Bain Paradox

Posted by Rex Critchlow on January 29, 2012


The story of Bain Capital under the guidance of Mitt Romney seems to be fading from our mindset without having ever really discussed the points raised by his detractor, Newt Gingrich. The mainstream media, both republican and democrat pundits (and anyone with a dog in the fight) all decry “Newt is attacking Capitalism”. This plea, without equivocation, absolutely false. At worst, Newt’s criticism was an incitement of Mitt Romney’s policies of Corporate Governance.

 

Corporate Governance (according to Wikipedia) “deals with prevention or mitigation of the conflict of interests of stakeholders”. In the case of Bain Capital and the businesses that Mitt closed, the ‘conflicted stakeholders’ are the investors and the employees. Be absolutely clear when it is said that Mr. Romney broke no laws in his time at Bain Capital, there appears to be no evidence to the contrary. He accomplished many great things – funding, guiding and building many companies that today employ more than 100,000 people. He also closed many businesses and fired a lot of people, leaving those least able to suffer through the upheaval he created in their lives.

 

The waters are murky at best when trying to sort out exactly how many people lost their jobs when Mitt closed businesses. What does seem to be unchallenged is that Bain and Mitt both profited wildly even in the worst investments. As Bain/Mitt seem to hold the details of these transactions close to the vest, unless Bain Capital releases all documents in the name of transparency, this assumption will have to stand. One particularly disturbing case alleges that Bain invested between $20 Million and $50 Million for a period of eight years, incurred massive debt in the name of the business, then declared the company bankrupt, closed the business, fired all the employees and still managed to walk away with just short of $200 Million.

 

Despite how one feels about such massive profits from ‘Corporate Raiding’, it remains a perfectly legal, although morally dubious practice. The question that has gone unanswered to date is “In the name of Corporate Governance, could (or more accurately should) Bain Capital and Mitt Romney have done more to mitigate the turmoil in the lives of the people caught in their wake?”

 

With more than $100,000,000.00 in profit, the answer  is obvious. Yes. Consider this: An unwavering commitment by Bain Capital to invest a substantial amount of the profit back into the terminated employees. Promises like: 1. Every effort would be made to place any employee, that so desired, a position in another Bain managed business. 2. Those that could not be placed immediately would receive free education or cross-training to make them a viable candidate. 3. Guaranteeing the financial stability of every terminated employee (within clearly established, reasonable guidelines) with mortgage, utility and food assistance until comparable work and pay could be acquired.

 

In other words, treat the employees with the respect and dignity they deserve – after all, it was their backs on which Bain made all that money.

 

There are frequent news reports on companies ‘gives back to the community’. Those companies are deservedly praised for their commitment and dedication from whom they have prospered. It is also perfectly legitimate and within the confines of the law for any company to choose not to pursue such endeavors. This evaluation of how Bain Capital and/or Mitt Romney conducted their business should in no way be construed as a call for legislation or mandate to force community programs. However, one must wonder…if Mitt Romney had done more to protect the lifestyle and livelihood of the employees he terminated, could anyone – including Newt Gingrich – have any legitimate criticism of his actions?

Posted in Business | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

rexCritchlow.com is now online

Posted by Rex Critchlow on December 1, 2011


Just a note to let you all know that I have finally placed my web site online. It still has some work to be done before it is “complete”, but I’m pleased with where it is now.

The funny part is that I am already working on the next version – one with more excellent and cool content, so be sure to check the site from time to time to see where we are.

http://rexcritchlow.com

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

An excerpt from The Life and Death of John Doe

Posted by Rex Critchlow on November 21, 2011


The following is an excerpt from my first novel titled “The Life and Death of John Doe”. For further details, see my web site: rexcritchlow.com

 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

 

James woke to a loud knocking on his bedroom door. He ached. His mind was foggy and he had trouble orienting himself until a familiar voice called out, “Dr. Prentice. Sir, it’s Gus.”

A red cotton robe with black trim hung near his bed. Without responding to the insistent pounding by his security officer, he wrapped himself in the garment and stuffed his feet into a pair of slippers.

“Come in Gus. Door’s open.”

Gus entered. “I’m sorry to wake you, sir, but there appears to have been a break-in last night.”

“Here?” James asked, now fully awake.

“It’s Cooper. He was making rounds last night when he came across someone on the property, he was attacked.”

What? Was he hurt?”

“He’s says that he is fine. I asked him to go to the hospital to get checked out, but he refused. He doesn’t appear to have any serious injuries, just a few minor cuts and bruises and a monster headache. He said that he had been in the restroom and was late making rounds. Next thing he knew, Mitchell was pulling him out the bushes behind the pool house. That’s when they called me.”

“Alright. Get on the horn to Arthur. Have him send over a team to investigate, and tell him I need to see him as soon as possible.”

“Already done. He’ll be here in about fifteen minutes.”

“Good. Tell Cooper that I insist he go to the hospital to get checked out. If he refuses, turn it over to Arthur and tell him to get it in writing. Until we know what’s going on I want to add an extra guard at the gate and one full-time watching the cameras. Report anything out of the ordinary to Arthur.”

“Yes, sir.”

James took a quick shower and brushed his teeth. By the time he had dressed, Arthur was waiting for him in the library.

“What do we know, Arthur?”

“Not much so far. I have a man reviewing video recordings from all camera angles now, and two more making a physical inspection of every sensor to see why they failed to alert Mr. Cooper to the presence of a person on the property. Your domestic staff and three other officers are examining the house to see if anything is missing or damaged.”

James’ mind was reeling. First a security breach at the office then a break-in at his home; all in the same weekend. This was hardly a coincidence. “Have local authorities been alerted yet?”

“No. Other than trespassing and the attack on Mr. Cooper, we don’t know what happened. It could be that running into a guard foiled their plans and they left before getting into the house.”

“They?”

“I can’t assume just one, but so far there is no evidence of more.”

James nodded, “Don’t call the police until you complete your own investigation. If Coop’s presence foiled a robbery attempt, I don’t want this outside our own staff. That nosey bimbo from the paper will just fill in any blanks with whatever she wants, and I’ll end up spending six months trying to straighten it out again.” James sat down at the desk and started scribbling a note as he spoke.

“Yes, sir.”

“Arthur, would you please call me something other than sir? I realize you are just being polite, but you are, no offense intended, at least fifteen years my senior. Call me James, Jim, Jimmy, J.P. or whatever you like.”

“You’re my boss. I’ll call you sir. It’s just the way I was raised.”

“Work on it,” he said, passing the note to Arthur. “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“Sounds great.”

“Have a seat. I’ll have some brought in.” He dialed the kitchen extension and asked for coffee and two cups to be brought to the library.

Arthur read the note: “Had security breach at office too. Could be bugged. Be discrete,” then nodded his head.

“How are things going on the security upgrades at the office?”

Arthur gave a lengthy but vague report of the upgrade while James jotted a new note on a fresh piece of paper. “Office security upgrade team compromised by unknown adversary. Could be private or gov’t. Re-vet all security personnel, quietly.” He passed the note to Arthur.

Arthur concluded his report, nodded and excused himself to go to the restroom. A few minutes later he returned with a technician. James poured the coffee and made small talk with Arthur while the technician began to move around the room with an electronic tool resembling an antenna.

“Bugs?” James mouthed to Arthur, who nodded.

The men sipped their coffee and chatted about the intrusion until the technician finally completed his sweep. When the tech finished he whispered in Arthur’s ear then left the room.

Arthur looked at James and put a finger to his lips signaling him to be quiet then picked up the pen.

“I’ll check to see how things are going. I’ll get back to you as soon as we know exactly what happened,” said Arthur.

James thanked Arthur and his team for responding so quickly. When Arthur left the room, James read the note he left behind. ‘Two bugs in this room. Watch what you say and where, but don’t act suspicious. Will check the house, office and cars and give full report a.s.a.p.’ James pressed the notes into the paper shredder beside his desk. He sat there a long time contemplating the events of the last fifteen hours. The questions far outnumbered the answers.

Posted in My Novels, The Life and Death of John Doe | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Can the Sales Tax be a Fair Tax?

Posted by Rex Critchlow on November 18, 2011


Over the last few months, we have heard proposals for a new tax system by most of the candidates that want to be the Republican Nominee for President in 2012. Herman Cain has his 9-9-9, Perry his ‘postcard plan’, but all of them come under fire by the opposition with the same argument: “The poor would have to pay more in taxes”. Notice here that nothing is said about the status of the rich. What they are really arguing for is the status quo. Why? Power and Greed.

Sure the ‘fat cats’ on Wall Street are robbing us blind, but then, so are the politicians – whether that be in Washington D.C. or your home town. Insider trading, land deals, kickbacks – and a thousand other ways I don’t have the mental wherewithal to even dream up – but those are all topics of future posts. For now, suffice it to say that the current tax law is all about Congress (and the White House) and the power they wield with their ability to tweak the tax code in favor of their donors and causes. Ultimately that leads to an unfair tax code – whether you are the benefactor of the injustice or the victim.

So could we have a fair tax system? It’s probably easier than you would think – at least to design. I’ve heard some argue that everyone should pay something in taxes, and I tend to agree. For example, no person in your state is exempt from paying sales tax. In most states, businesses purchasing items for resale do not pay taxes, nor do non-profit or government entities. In some states, like Indiana, some items are not subject to sales tax – unprocessed foods and services come to mind.

The Cain and Perry plans both propose scrapping the current tax code for a tax that is ‘more fair’ and, I believe, both with the eventual goal of a national sales tax (NST) system. Let’s skip the middle man and go straight to the NST. Let’s drill down and see how this could be made fair to everyone – at lease, mostly fair.

Since studies show that most people don’t care about the rich, let’s look at a struggling family (or individual) and their basic needs.  Note that I said needs, not rights, wants, desires, preferences or any other semantic parsing. NEEDS – housing, food, basic utilities (electricity, gas, water and sewage). These items will account for at least 80% of the gross income of all low income households. So let’s make them tax exempt. Not the individuals and families – the NEEDS. That means that sales tax would only apply to a persons discretionary spending – cars, cell phones, potato chips, movies, consumer electronics, etc. Let’s throw some numbers out there…

A family of four that makes a total of $50K/year. Assuming that my figure of 80% for NEEDS is correct, this family will have only $10K in discretionary spending. With a NST of 11%, that family would pay about $1,100 per year in federal sales tax – a real rate of 2.2%. When you consider that this family is already paying 7.65% for Social Security and Medicare in today’s tax system.

Let’s face it, millionaires and billionaires have far more discretionary funds than a struggling family – and they spend a lot more for things like taxi or limo service, air fare, hotel rooms, fine dining, and more. Even though they may save while purchasing their lavish homes, they still spend a lot more than the average family and will, by default, pay more in taxes.

If there is no federal income tax and an individual that works for a company like IBM or Wal-Mart does not have taxes taken out of their pay check, it would seem reasonable that monies paid for services would also be exempt. For example: automotive service, manicures, legal fees, lawn care, computer service, etc. It could also be argued that all labor other than direct employees should be taxable. This opens that proverbial can of worms by trying to pin down an air-tight definition of ‘Direct Employee’. Looking to states like Indiana, where professional services are not taxed, and Florida, where they are, may offer a solution.

Reality bites. When discussing abolishing the current tax structure and implementing a new ‘fairer’ system, reality will bite hard. No matter how fair the new system, the odds of getting Congress and the President to sign it into law are so close to nil, I’d say my odds are better at winning the PowerBall (and lotteries aren’t legal here in Alabama). Politicians in a fair tax system are the biggest losers, and this isn’t a reality show – it’s reality.

Please comment on this idea (particularly the NTS plan). I really would like to hear what you think.

Posted in Concepts and Ideas, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fixing the USPS (US Postal Service) Deficit

Posted by Rex Critchlow on August 22, 2011


For too many years now I have maintained a post office box – at a cost of about $50 per year. I’ve often wondered why it is that I have to pay so much for a box that requires little to no maintenance and is so much more convenient to the postal workers than it is to me. Then it hit me – they’re doing it all backwards.

The solution is simple – FREE POST OFFICE BOXES and PAY FOR HOME DELIVERY. For everyone that wants to-your-door delivery, there is an additional fee. For everyone that wants to use PO boxes, they’re free. Think about it – no more maintenance on vehicles, gasoline and you can cut the labor force dramatically. Granted, we don’t have enough PO boxes today, but if we started migrating neighborhoods to large stations with no attendees – although they may need some sort of lighting, element protection and even a security camera – all is cheaper than paying these people to walk (or drive) door-to-door.

The suburbs and apartment complexes are easy. But there should be a minimum number of boxes per location – say 200. Traditional city housing could be blocked into ten square blocks which would typically be about 1500-1600 homes. There are certainly some issues with this idea – like where to put these boxes, but it would, in the long run, save a lot of money.

 

Posted in Concepts and Ideas | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Better Idea Than Charging Stations for Electric Cars

Posted by Rex Critchlow on August 21, 2011


I’ve noticed in the UK that they are working on a national effort to install “charging stations” across the country for those that drive electric cars. I guess the idea is that if someone is driving more than the current 100 mile (160 km) range of the present-day electric car, one can stop and recharge the battery.  Here in the US, estimates (planetgreen.com) claims that it will cost between $2 and $4 per full charge.

Just for fun, lets compare the cost of driving an EV (electric vehicle) to a gas powered vehicle. Lets assume you drive a newer model mid-size sedan that gets 34 MPG. With a 12-gallon tank, you can go about 408 miles per tank. A refill @ 3.29 (the average price around Montgomery Alabama today – 8/21/2011) will run you about forty bucks and take about fifteen minutes. To recharge the EV you will spend between $8 and $16 and take thirty-two hours. I guess if “Time is Money” then it depends on what that 32 hours is worth to you. Of course you can do other things – you just can’t go anywhere to do it.

There has to be a better way! What if you could simply pay $10 “at the pump” and get a gull charge in ten minutes or less? Then this idea is for you. Let’s apply the same solution to EV’s as we did to computer systems (excluding, of course, Apple products). Standardize. Here’s how my plan would work.

1. All EV’s batteries need to be standardized. Look at your gas powered vehicle (GPV) battery choices – there are a ton of them…I won’t even begin to list the variations. If we had a consortium that standardized EV batteries, the cost of the batteries would drop dramatically, making the cost of the vehicle far less than it is today. Of course there would be Gen 1, Gen 2, etc. as tome passes, and your EV would (or at least should) be able to upgrade as the new batteries come out.

2. With standardized batteries we will implement standardized connectivity – just like on GPV’s (we all use the same gas pumps and fill via the same sized fill port on the car. With EV’s, the ‘fill port’ would actually be an electronically controlled access panel on the outside of the car – just like the gas fill cover – except this one opens via a remote signal instead of manually opening the cover.

3. Power stations (like a gas station) have a place to pull your vehicle to be serviced (filled with gas) except the Power Station is a robotic station that reads an RFID chip on your car that identifies the make and model (and optionally the VIN – see the section on Protecting my Battery below). The robot reads the RFID chip and, via the database, knows the exact dimensions of the car and the location of the battery panel. Using a Red/Green light system, helps you to properly park the car. The robot then waits for payment – cash, credit card, etc. Once paid, the robot opens the panel, extracts the existing battery and sends it into the charging compartment of the station. Retrieves a fully charged battery, inserts it into your car, closes the door, and away you go – Fully charged and ready for your next hundred mules. Total time of exchange, about five to ten minutes.

4. Power Stations can be designed in different configurations for numbers of service-bots and battery capacity. For example, a roadside station in the middle of Kansas may only need to service one EV at a time, but have capacity for 50 or more batteries, while an EV in Baton may need to service twenty or more vehicles simultaneously and hold 1000+ batteries. It will take some time to determine a formula for what type of station is needed in which environment – especially since the number of EV’s on the road today is far less than the number in, say, ten years.

Protecting my Battery: With remote controlled access panels, and the way society is today, there will need to be some sort of security to protect from theft. A simple, voluntary national database that tracks which battery is in which EV would go a long way to preventing theft. Anyone in the business of buying or recycling EV batteries could be required to check the serial number against the national database to see the status of the battery.

The rest, I think you can figure out on your own. I’d like your feedback in the form of comments and/or vote on my poll. Thank you.

 

Posted in Concepts and Ideas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

For the Love of Pete, Chapter 1

Posted by Rex Critchlow on August 18, 2011


“Hurry Up! We’re going to be late,” she chided her son, as she scurried up the court house steps. For Duncan, the stained concrete steps reminded him of the Aztec temples they had been learning about in school. They seemed to go on forever. Up, up, up. He struggled to keep up with his mother, his right hand clasp tightly in her left.

“Pete!” he cried, as his teddy bear tumbled down the steps behind him. He tried to break free from his mother’s grasp to recover his most prized possession. She held fast and sighed in her frustration.

“What next! Stay here. I’ll get him.” She scurried down the steps and collected the battered toy. “This,” she admonished, as she huffed back up the concrete monolith, “is why I didn’t want you to bring it with you. If you loose it again, it’s gone forever. Understand?”

Duncan nodded, his heart breaking at the thought of forever losing his best friend. His mother scooped him up, relieving him of the arduous mid-morning task of climbing Mount Courthouse, and rushed to the top of the stairs.

The inside of the building reminded him of a cave they had gone to on vacation last summer. There were tall columns, high domed ceilings and the floor and walls were all made of stone. His mother called them marbles, or so he thought she said. To an eight-year-old boy, they were just brightly colored, flat, shiny rocks. Her high heels clicked on the rocks, and echoed off the walls and ceiling as they scurried down the endlessly long hallway. There were men and women entering and exiting offices, rushing down the halls, or just sitting quietly on long, old wooden benches. Most of them wore their Sunday suits and dresses. None of them looked happy.

Listening to the voices and footsteps ricocheting off the walls and ceilings, Duncan couldn’t resist the urge to add his own voice to the foray. “Hello!” he shouted.

The echo wasn’t like in the cartoons. It didn’t say “How are you?” and it didn’t say “Hello…hello…hello”. It did, however, produce a single ‘Hello’ and a swift, sharp response from his mother – on his backside.

“Shush. Behave yourself.”

They entered the elevator. He tried to push all the buttons on the panel, but his mother somehow read his thoughts {again} and prevented him from having fun {again}. The elevator moved slowly, jumping and jerking its way up, stopping on the second floor where several people stood waiting when the doors opened. Nobody got on. They just stood there. Some, like his mother, stared at the sundial above the door. Others stared at the two passengers. One woman smiled pleasantly and waved at Duncan. He waved back. Eventually the doors closed and moved to their destination on the third floor.

This room was almost identical to the first floor, except the stairs only went down instead of up, and the center of the room was encircled with long wooden benches.

A man in a blue suit approached them. “Good morning, Cheryl. Are you ready for this?” She sighed and nodded. “And you must be Duncan. Your mother talks about you all the time. I’m Richard.” He shook Duncan’s hand politely and turned back to Cheryl. “I’ll let them know you are here.”

“Is Stanley here yet?”

“No, not yet.”

The man left and Cheryl deposited Duncan at one end of the long bench. It creaked as she settled onto the seat next to him. “I hate these old benches,” she mumbled. “They look great, but the moan and groan every time you move in them.”

Duncan was too busy to hear her. The room was amazing. Behind the bench and over the old wood handrail, he could see all the way down to the first floor. His first thought was to see how long it would take his spit to splatter on the floor a mile below him. He prepared his phlegm.

“Randal Duncan Billings…”

That was all his mother needed to say. He swallowed hard, clutched Pete to his chest and plopped down in the chair properly. Sitting still was a chore, but he did quite well; three or four minutes at least. He looked up. He looked way up. There was a hole in the ceiling just like the hole in the floor, except at the top was a glass ceiling. It was square like the floor with round corners and a round top, like a giant, colored bubble. The glass was made of many colors and formed smaller pictures of birds, crosses and flowers.

“Wow,” he whispered. “This place is just like church.”

“Not quite,” came his mother’s quick, cynical answer. “Church is where you go for forgiveness. This is where you go when there isn’t any forgiveness left to give.”

He didn’t know what she meant, but it didn’t sound fun. It sounded scary. He wanted to leave. Now. Instead, the man in the blue suit called to his mother.

“Wait here honey, I’ll be right back. Sit down and stay away from the edge of the railing.” She walked over to the man and they spoke in hushed voices. Duncan huddled in his seat, afraid to move. If church was where you went to go to heaven, where would this place send you? When a man and woman on the other end of the room started arguing loudly, he had his answer. His arms wrapped tightly around his bear. He knew what happened next.

Their voices escalated into shouting and echoed off the walls. It reminded him of how his mom and dad fought almost every night, at least until the police made his dad move out. That, she had said, was why they were coming here today. She had asked the man in the blue suit if his dad was here yet. It must be where you went to fight.

A girl in a frilly dress sneaked around the big pillar at the corner of the hole in the floor. She climbed onto the bench, hugged her knees to her chest and cried. Duncan knew how she felt. When his parents fought, he wanted to cry too, but his dad told him to be a big boy and that big boys don’t cry. He didn’t cry, he hugged Pete instead, but he watched the girl.

She was pretty, not that Duncan noticed girls. Her curly blonde hair was tied back with a pink ribbon. The ribbon matched her dress, and the frilly edges were as white as marshmallows. She wore shiny red shoes and white pantyhose. She reminded him of a peppermint stick.

More voices joined in the argument. Duncan couldn’t understand what they were saying, because they were all yelling at once. The girl started pounding her head with her fists and wrists. His mother and Richard were watching the fight intently. Nobody noticed the little girl. Duncan did. He had to be a big boy. He crawled the length of the endless bench and seated himself next to her.

“Hi,” he said quietly.

She didn’t speak, but she did stop hitting herself, burring her face between her knees.

“I’m Duncan.” Still no response. “What’s your name?”

A policeman ran past the children and around the pillar toward the group of arguing adults. The yelling stopped immediately. She raised her head and wiped her eyes. “Kristin.”

“This is Pete,” he said holding up the battered bear. “He’s my best friend. He protects me when my parents fight.”

“I don’t like it when they yell. Mom throws things too, like plates and coffee cups.”

“My mom just likes to slam doors, even after dad leaves. Bam! Bam! Bam!” He swung his arms like he was slamming the door.

Somehow, the thought of his mother slamming the doors made them laugh quietly. It wasn’t funny, but it seemed less scary than the screaming parents and flying dishes.

“Billings versus Billings!” a man called out.

“Come on Duncan, that’s us,” his mother took his hand and pulled him away from his new friend.

“Bye!” he called back to her. She waved a little wave and managed a slight smile.

Into a big room filled with pews. It sure looked like a church, but there were two flags where there should have been crucifixes. His mother made him sit in the front row, then she went up onto the stage at the front of the room and sat at a table with the man in the blue suit. His dad was sitting at another table, facing his mom. Next to him was another man in a blue suit. His dad waved at him and smiled. He waved back.

“All rise for the Honorable Judge Alderton.” They all stood up.

A man came in wearing a long black robe. He even looked like a priest, except the collar of his shirt was all white instead of just the front and he wasn’t wearing a big cross on his neck.

“Be seated,” he said.

Everyone sat. Up and down; just like in church. After that, Duncan was lost. The men in the blue suits did most of the talking, none of which he understood. The judge asked each of his parents a few questions. When the judge smacked his wooden hammer onto the desk, they all got up and left the room.

After he hugged his dad, they started toward the elevator. Kristin was still sitting alone on the bench. She looked so sad. Duncan yanked his hand out of his mother’s and ran back to where the girl was seated.

“Here,” he said pushing Pete toward her with both hands. She looked confused. “Here,” he repeated, shaking the stuffed bear gently, his head wobbling wildly on his nearly severed neck. She reached out and tepidly took the bear from Duncan. “Mom said she won’t be fighting with dad any more, because they’re divorced now. Pete wants to protect you now.” She nodded, then closed her arms around the bear, holding him tightly.

“Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins!

“Yes, sir?”

“If you’re done daydreaming, can we proceed?”

“I’m sorry, your honor.” Duncan cleared his throat. “My client and the Respondent have agreed upon and signed forms outlining, what they deem to be a fair and equitable distribution of assets acquired during their marriage. As per the prenuptial agreement, each will retain such assets they brought into the union.”

“Is that the document?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Let me see it.”

Duncan approached the bench and presented the formidable document to the judge.

“Thank you.” He thumbed through the pages quickly. “Mr. Barton, your client has agreed to and signed this document?” He pressed the pages over his desk toward the other attorney who accepted them. After a brief survey of the text, he nodded and passed it back to the judge.

“Yes, sir.”

“And what about the disposition of the children?”

“If it please the court, your honor, we request that physical custody of the two minor children be placed with the mother, and that child support be awarded as per state guidelines.”

“Your honor,” interrupted the other attorney, “My client requests he be given bi-weekly visitation, as well as one month during the summer school breaks with alternating Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, and given support credit for visitation.”

“Any objections, Mr. Collins?” asked the judge, without looking up from his notes.

“No, sir.”

“Has council calculated support required by the state?”

“Yes, sir,” the lawyers said in unison.

“Submit those to the clerk. You will have my ruling by weeks end. Next case.” He clacked his gavel on the bench.

Duncan collected his papers, slipped them into his satchel and escorted his client from the room.

Very few cases went this smoothly. The parents seemed to be on speaking, even friendly terms. They had divided the assets with almost no argument and custody was uncontested. It wouldn’t last. It never did.

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Publishing my novels

Posted by Rex Critchlow on August 18, 2011


This category is to present and promote my novels. I will be posting parts of these books for the purpose of promotions and to generate interest by literary agents and/or publishers. For anyone that reads my posts in this category and has contacts in the literary arena, please direct them to my postings. I will be very appreciative.

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