Doo be do be doooo….I’m biking through the park with Bitefighter (my loyal buddy and 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire) strapped to my back in the customized backpack he likes to ride around in. I stop in front of the tennis courts, where four yoked, type-A soccer moms are playing a pro-caliber game of tennis. Bitefighter follows my gaze and says: “Roof.” I turn my head toward him and say, “I know. My biggest weakness, right?” (LOVE soccer moms—just sayin’). But instead of stopping there, my stupid fat mouth has to keep going and say, “Just wish they weren’t always talking about Kate Middleton, you know? I don’t see what the big deal is with—” Suddenly a tennis ball traveling at 120 mph slams into the section of chainlink fence by my head, bowing the metal outward with a deafening SPRANG! The moms angrily stalk toward me, clutching their rackets with white-knuckled fingers. “WHAT did you say?” the lead one asks. Before I can answer she says, “Pay obeisance, worm! Filthy little crawlers like you don’t get to refer to her by her first name; you call her the DUCHESS, understand? Get in here!” As she says this she whips her racket at the fence in a blindingly fast chop, breaking some of the chain link. “GET IN HERE!” she screams again, chopping at the fence once more. Shit, I’m close to wetting my pants; there’s no way I’m gonna enter a cage with type-A moms that are most likely familiar with every deadly art known to man. I immediately start biking away just as the four moms tuck into a simultaneous shoulder-charge and break through the weakened chain-link. I cast a panicked look behind me as I’m biking away and see the lead mom smiling triumphantly. She has a tennis ball in her left hand and she’s assumed what’s known as the “platform” serving stance. I’ve made it two hundred yards away and I’m about to breathe a sigh of relief when I cast another look behind me and see the mom lob the ball into the air. Wait—there’s no way she can hit me from this distance, right? I mean…then I hear a THWACK! SHOOOOOOOOOM! I stand up to increase my sprint when a deadly green missile labeled “Wilson” thunders into my tailbone, briefly causing everything below my waist to go numb. For an instant, bright patches of light fill my vision. I let out a fear-filled shriek as I tumble off my bike and hit the deck. To anyone watching, it probably looked like I was just shot by a sniper. The soccer moms are now charging toward me, leaping over logs and pedestrians like this was just another one of their Tough Mudders (which I have no doubt they always take silver or gold in). Bitefighter scrambles out of my pack and tries to drag me by my collar, but he’s too small. “Leave me,” I say in a weak moan. “Save yourself little buddy.” He shakes his head in a firm negative and replies with a frustrated “ROWF!” The lead soccer mom’s shadow falls over me and I look up to see her sinister smile. Her eyes drop toward my butt and she says, “I see you’re a squatter. You’re cute and all, but I don’t think you’re man enough to serve as anything less then our peg-slave.” My brow wrinkles and I ask, “Peg-slave? What’re you—” she makes a thrusting motion with her hips and says, “I hope you’ve been dilating your butthole, friend. Stretchy stretchy, hope we don’t get messy.” She winks at me, and my jaw drops open in sheer horror. “NO!” I scream. I throw my head back and yell, “PALAMEDES PUBLISHING!” Magic flash. A bevy of actors who’ve starred in rom-coms appear behind the soccer moms, flashing big friendly grins. George Clooney waves and says “Hey ladies! Over here—we’ve got Container Store gift cards….your favorite!” Rackets clatter to the deck as the soccer moms break into excited gabble and race toward the distinguished (and of course safe and respectable) heart-throbs. Meanwhile, Hugh Grant helps me to my feet, dusts me off, and says, “Come on mate—let’s get you out of here.” I say in dazed amazement, “Hugh Grant? I can’t thank you enough. I—” He cuts me off with a dismissive wave. “Think nothing of it mate.” As I get back on the bike I ask him, “Tell me something: Do you enjoy doing what you do? The rom-coms, I mean?” He grimaces and says, “I’m knee deep in hookers and blow, mate—what do you think? We all do it for the money. But there will be a reckoning: Our work to serve the evil empire known as Hallmark will soon have devastating consequences. A Resistance has already formed.” I raise an eyebrow, wordlessly asking him to elaborate, but he shakes his head and says, “That’s a story for another ad. Get out of here before they make good on their promise to make you a peg-slave.” Bitefighter and I beat a hasty retreat, thanking our lucky stars for Hugh Grant as we whiz away from the park.
When you’re accosted by type-A soccer moms that are capable of holding off an elite infantry battalion with their tennis prowess, there’s only one answer: A gaggle of secretly rebellious rom-com stars. Palamedes publishing. Check out their revolutionary Responsive Books software here: Responsive Books. Check out their poetry here: Manhattan They are currently assisting me with the process of getting Echo Volumes 1 & 2 in paperback. For now, get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle