Something in Store

I updated my online “store,” which has handy links to Amazon for my books and for anthologies that include my stories, including When the Night Comes Down, Evolve, Close Encounters of the Urban Kind, and Dead Set.

I posted my review of Robert B. Parker’s last Jesse Stone novel, Split Image. This morning I finished reading Tell All by Chuck Palahniuk. Some might call the book “experimental.” I might call it “self-indulgent.”

Apparently I did the unthinkable last year — I threw away payment for one of my stories! When I was updating my submission tracker, I noticed that the entry for my story in New Love Stories didn’t have an amount filled in for the sale. I checked my accounting software and determined that I’d never deposited any payment for it. When I queried the editor, he said the check was in with my contributor copies, which I’d received in November. I looked through every page of the magazines and the only inserts I found were subscription cards. The only conclusion I can come to is that the check stayed inside the envelope and got tossed out in the recycle bin five months ago. I pleaded temporary insanity and asked for a replacement, throwing myself at the mercy of the court.

I’ve come to the conclusion that House isn’t a medical drama. It’s a drama set in a hospital that features doctors and people with illnesses, but the patient-of-the-week and his or her malady is only a catalyst. Inevitably, the patient is a launching board to explore something about one or more of the regular cast. This week, a woman in an open marriage reflected Taub’s situation–he had an affair and now he’s contemplating another. Even he uses the patient as an overture to raise the subject with his wife. After the initial outrage, she decides that his lying was worse than him having sex with another woman, so she gives him permission to see someone on Thursdays. No lies, no cover-ups, no further discussion required. She rescinds the offer at the last minute and Taub claims he’s okay with her decision, the weasel. And the subtext of secrets in relationships gives House ammunition to sabotage Wilson’s rekindled relationship with his first ex-wife. Milk on the door of the fridge, a banana peel in the bedroom trashcan. The guy is devious.

I think the scene in the Winnebago on Breaking Bad this week ranks as one of the series’ most intense ever. He should have listened to his lawyer. “Even the Enterprise had a self-destruct button,” the lawyer said. “I’m just sayin’.” Salvation comes at first in the form of a junkyard lawyer who knows just about everything there is to know about civil liberties. I have to wonder, though, if their ultimate solution to the Hank problem showed too much of their hand, since it belied an intimate knowledge of his family. I like the new guy, the chemist who has a thing for the perfect cup of coffee. Like him, I’m an X-ray crystallographer and “I could talk about that for hours,” as Walt said. I liked Walt’s reaction to the coffee. “Why the hell are we making meth?” He’s still in borderline denial, even though he’s back in the business. “I can’t imagine we strike each other as criminals.” Those two taciturn Mexican killers seem like an irresistible force of momentum headed on a collision course with Walt, but now that they’ve been sicced on Hank, how’s that going to work out? Great show!

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