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Thank you to the readers who caught a typo in Chapter 3. Fixed.
Several people commented on the short length of Chapter 3. That was simply because I divided the story by days, and not by even lengths. Not as much happened those two days. Chapter 4 is a single day, but since it is a much busier day, it is almost twice as long. That's just the way it worked out.
In any case, this short story is over. Whether you agree with the protests or not, you have to admit that it is a timely story. This is only three weeks ago we are discussing. As I wrote one of my many readers, the entire idea came to me in one fell swoop. My wife and I were watching the late news one night, with DJT complaining about the protests, and I looked over at her and just said, 'This would make a perfect story for the Grim Reaper.' She gave me an appropriate blank stare, but I was able to write it in just a few days.
Thank you to all the readers who enjoyed it. Thank you also to the readers who disagreed with my middle-of-the-road politics. Over the years I have learned from you as well. And even a thank you to the readers who cursed me and swore to delete my name from their favorites. I am glad I made your lives simpler. As Oscar Wilde once said, 'You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.' I have made some wonderful enemies!
Another huge response, 100+ emails. The percentage of positive and negative is about the same as before. Two big comments on that. First, just like before, if you don't like it, stop reading. Second, I just love the readers who swear that Donald would never do this sort of thing, and I obviously don't understand his love for the military and veterans. Yeah, that love really comes through when he's insulting gold star wives and parents, which he has spent the last week doing. Don't bother telling me how wrong I am; the Delete key is waiting.
A couple of readers caught a naming error in Chapter 2. Fixed. Thanks.
In any case, we are nearing the end of this short story. I probably won't be putting this on lulu, since it is so short. Have to give that one some thought.
Chapter 1 of the story has generated a lot of email. So far I have received at least 80-90 responses. If all I sent back was a quick thank you, don't feel slighted, because that is all I had time to do. I read each and every email.
Most readers seemed to enjoy the premise, but not all. Probably 80-85% of the responses were favorable. The rest fell into three categories:
First, a small group hate politics and were outraged that I would sully the pristine pages of SOL with politics. Also, how dare I get Grim involved? Well, a) Grim is fictional, and b) I created him! I can sully him however I want!
Next was a larger group that branded me as simply an awful person. This took the form of the following standardized response: 'You are a [Insert insulting string of adjectives and nouns.] What the football players are doing is an insult to [Pick one - the flag, the nation, the military, the President, world peace, the Muppets, free-range chickens, etc.] You are [Insert another string of adjectives and nouns.]' interestingly, the most damning insult this group could call me was a Democrat! For the record, I am registered as an Independent. A pox on both their houses.
Lastly, another group was outraged by the thought that President Trump could ever possibly show any form of disrespect to the military or veterans, since he was such a staunch supporter of both. Sadly, the evidence overwhelmingly shows the DJT has zero knowledge of, or interest in, either group beyond what they can do to get him elected and keep him in office. I could easily see him tweeting something totally ridiculous in response to Jack's tweet.
So, to those readers who don't like the political aspect of the story, I have a simple suggestion. Don't read it! It's not like I can reach through the Internet and put a gun to your head to make you read it. If you really hate it, give it a 1 on the score. Hell, give all my stories a 1. Then stop reading it. You'll feel better.
One of the more interesting things about writing was switching between two very different characters. In A Fresh Start, Carl Buckman was a decidedly political fellow, and there was a huge amount of feedback, both positive and negative, about that. From there I switched to The Grim Reaper, a man who was about as apolitical as you can get. Well, things change!
In the immediate political environment, we are seeing a confluence of everything Graham Reaper has lived - football, the Army, and the police. If you had told me five years ago that a President would be tying the three together in the most divisive manner possible, I would have called you crazy. It seems as if we live in crazy times. The Grim Reaper is getting political.
This isn't another epic. It is a short story that came to mind involving current events. I plan to publish a chapter Tuesdays & Fridays. Special thanks go out to grynslvr2, a veteran southern police officer, who checked the story for accuracy related to the police. Like me, and like Grim, he is not at all sure about the politics I bring up. Don't blame him for any errors; that is all on me. Likewise, I will be the first to agree that the political issues Grim dives into are not at all one-sided. This stuff is a real mess.
Enjoy! (Or not!)
I've been away from writing for a bit, and a few readers have noticed. I thought I would let people know I'm still alive, though not for lack of trying to shuffle off this mortal coil. My health has been on the decline for the last few years. My wife, AKA 'the Black Widow', managed to provide me with a second heart attack last year, in the exact same fashion as when she gave me the first one. Yes, that really does happen. On the other hand, considering how many guys get heart attacks mowing the lawn or shoveling snow, I can promise you there is a much more amusing method to overstress your heart. (After the first one, her mother wanted to know what I was doing that was so strenuous; my wife turned beet-red and told her I was doing pushups. That's one way of looking at it, I suppose.) I am going to have to work that into a story one of these days.
The biggest reason I haven't been writing much is a job change. The company we owned, along with a few other family members, basically went bankrupt. We managed to sell it, and we all still have jobs with the new owner, but that job has changed a lot, and I just don't have as much time to write.
However, my mind is still functioning, though my wife tends to argue the specifics. I am currently working on a short story revisiting one of my favorite characters, the Grim Reaper. A few short weeks ago I was watching television news with her, and we were listening to the latest stories about President Trump tweeting about the NFL players kneeling and linking arms in protest. I looked over at her and said, "I swear, this would make the perfect story for the Grim Reaper! His brother is in the NFL, he used to be a soldier, and is now a cop. Trump claims this is insulting soldiers, the players are protesting cops, that's how Grim became a cop. There are so many levels to the story!"
So, that's what I've been working on. I don't expect it to be anything massive. I am figuring maybe four to five chapters, and I have finished two. I imagine it will be finished in a week or so, and I will publish it shortly thereafter. Keep an eye out!
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