Murder Sets Sail – 4

Myra is beautiful, she is smart, she is talented, but her beauty, and her talent, and her smarts were not enough to keep her from hooking up with the wrong guy. Oh, I know, he seemed nice enough, but . . .

Murder Sets Sail is published by Second Wind Publishing.

by Paul J. Stam


Sitting in her apartment after George returned and gave her the money to pay the travel agent, Myra knew any chances of ever having a real acting career had come to an end. Acting was all she had ever really wanted to do. She was twenty-one when she graduated from the University of Minnesota with an impressive list of credits from the University Theater, the Showboat Theater, educational television productions, various community theaters and local television commercials.

English: The new Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis

Upon graduation she auditioned successfully at the prestigious Tyrone Guthrie Theater. Her parents, discovering she was employed in a vocation they considered questionable if not displeasing to God, wrote and called her constantly begging her to do something worthwhile with her life. She let the machine screen all her calls so she never actually talked to them. No matter how often she changed her phone, even getting a number that was unlisted, they somehow managed to find her number and start calling again. They always ended their messages with, “We’re praying for you, Darling,” which she highly resented. She didn’t need, or want, them praying for her. After a year with the Guthrie she left for California hoping to establish herself beyond her parents’ reach. Continue reading

Telephone Killer – 29

Well, here it is, Ralph’s big day. Lets hope nothing goes wrong. Or maybe we should say let’s hope something doesn’t go right so that someone won’t get killed. But if no one gets killed we wouldn’t have a story, would we?

by Paul J. StamPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]


Saturday, July 3rd, was a clear, cloudless day. At nine-thirty in the morning it was pleasant in the park with an occasional gentle breeze off the river. Not far from the children’s area workmen were making preparation for the ‟official” opening of the park. A concrete path separated the audience from the speaker’s platform.

When Ralph and his crew arrived workmen were setting up the last of the chairs while others were testing the sound system. The ceremonies were scheduled for ten thirty, but Ralph had his crew there an hour early to get his people into the best positions before crews from other stations arrived.

Moore positioned his cameras on either side of the set up chairs. ‟Ginger, you stay here and shoot things in general, the reaction of the crowd and be ready for any protesters who might want to disrupt the meeting. Keep your camera mike on to get the general sounds. We can always remove the sound later if we need to.” Continue reading

I Know Not What I do

DSC02094One of the wonderful things about trying to do clay sculpture is that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Oh, I know a little, but when I start out I really don’t know what I’m going to end up with. This is what I ended up with on my first attempt at this one. Call it a finished-unfinished piece.

I once attempted to do wood carvings. But once you chip something away from a piece of wood there is not putting it back, whereas with clay if you take too much away, take some off, – don’t have enough clay in some spot, add a little.

Well enough of my philosophizing.

DSC02072DSC02074I saw a picture of a stone sculpture one time and thought I would try to do it. This is what I started with.

To that I had to add some legs. As you can see they are not proportionally equal. The straight leg is much fatter than the bent one. Like I said, the wonderful thing about clay is you can scrape away any that is too much. Continue reading

Murder Sets Sail – 3

You’ve met Chris. He’s the nice, but a not so smart, nice guy with a boat for charter. And you’ve met George who is the most bad of the bad guys. Now meet Myra. She’s a nice enough girl who hasn’t always made the best decisions. But you’ll learn about that as you read this excerpt.

Murder Sets Sail is published by Second Wind Publishing.

by Paul J. Stam


Myra Jennings was just straightening up from putting a sheet of cookies in the oven when George let himself in. She was wearing a print dress under her apron and there were little beads of perspiration on her forehead just below the line of blond hair. She pushed a strand of wavy, blond hair away from in front of her blue eyes, “I wasn’t expecting you. I look a mess. I was just making a batch of cookies,” she said taking off her apron.

He put his arms around her and kissed her playfully on the nose. “You look beautiful,” he said and meant it.

“Do you want a drink?”

“Yeah,” he said going into the living room while she turned to get the Coke and limes out of the refrigerator. “How would you like to go to Hawaii?” he called from the living room.

“I’d love to.”

“Well, that’s where we’re off to. Call Ricky and tell him I need passports for George and Myra Harris and Steve Harris.” He wondered for an instant why he had chosen the name “Harris” and then remembered it was the name of the Limey with the Hong Kong boat. “I’ll send the photos over by messenger this afternoon. Tell him I want those passports by tomorrow.”

“Do we need passports for Hawaii?” she asked knowing full well they didn’t, which meant this was not the holiday she had thought when he asked if she wanted to go to Hawaii. She also knew that having agreed to go and having been told to arrange for the false passports she couldn’t back out. Continue reading

Telephone Killer – 28

Ralph doesn’t know just how much trouble Ferus Vitium’s plans for him be, If he did he might not be so eager for the 3rd of July to arrive.

by Paul J. StamPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]


It was eight o’clock in the evening. It had been a long day. Captain Williams sat leaning back in his chair, his right elbow on the chair arm, his head resting in his hand. His tie was pulled off to one side a little which was not like him. His short-cut graying hair lay flat around his head except for the few strands in the back that never laid flat. He was tired and he looked it.

‟All right, Smitty, what do you have for me.”

‟Nothing all morning. At 2:02 p.m. he came out and went to the Ridgeview Shopping Plaza. He took a long time to get there, backtracking and going back and forth. For a while, I thought he knew he was being tailed and was trying to shake us, but all he was doing was burning up time. He got to the shopping center and headed for a phone. I just barely got out of the car in time, but the phone was ringing and he picked it up. Seems it was for a girl who was waiting there.”

‟This was a public phone?”

‟Yes, Sir. The girl talked quite a while and he went into the video store, but I could see him close to the window watching for when the girl got off. As soon as she was through, he was back at that phone. He pretended to be talking to someone, but it rang again and then he was talking for real.” Continue reading

Telephone Killer – Excerpt 27

by Paul J. StamPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]


It was a beautiful summer day. Ralph Moore could not remember a day of such exhilarating ecstasy. He was on his way to the Ridgeview Shopping Center. In ten days, he was scheduled to cover the dedication of the new park. He couldn’t wait to tell Vitium he had the assignment and hear what Vitium had to tell him.

He was familiar with the shopping center. As soon as he knew where the next phone call would come to him, he went to check it out. He was five feet from the phone when it began to ring and in the two steps it took him to get to it, he glanced at his watch. He was three minutes early and he wondered if his watch was wrong. He was amazed at his good fortune in having made it right in time. ‟Hello‟

‟Is Jenny there?”


‟Let me talk to Jenny.”

‟There’s no Jenny here. This is a public phone at…”

‟Yes, I know. She just called me from there,” the man said while behind him a voice said, ‟I’m Jenny.”

‟Oh,” he said handing the receiver to an overweight, dark-haired girl. The girl did not look at all like Jessica, but for some reason she reminded him of her.

‟There’s another phone at the other end,” she said pointing with her thumb across the stage area and then said into the receiver, ‟Oh, some jerk got to it before I could.” Continue reading

Murder Sets Sail – 2

Last week, in the first chapter of this book you met Chris who has a boat for charter and is a little strapped for money, you might even say he is desperate.

In this chapter you will meet some of the bad guys who are going to charter his boat.

Murder Sets Sail is published by Second Wind Publishing.

by Paul J. Stam


George Costellos was headed toward what his father called the Cottage, though it was larger than most of the other houses along that stretch of the beach. Three miles up the highway was a much larger, more opulent house everyone in the family referred to as the Beach House.

The Cottage was his father’s, and now George’s, office away from the office. His mother, his wife, his three sisters and his children did not know about the Cottage. Of the four homes his father owned; the house in Palm Springs, the home in Bel-Air, the Beach House and the Cottage, the last was George’s favorite.

He rolled up to the security gate of the exclusive community and the guard waved him through. He turned into the driveway of the Cottage. His father’s car and Susanne’s car were parked in the garage. Larry Anderson’s Valiant was parked in the driveway behind his father’s car. George was surprised that Larry was already there. George parked his car next to Susanne’s car and hit the remote that closed the garage door. Continue reading