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  • Writer's pictureErik Dean

An Insight on Crueler and More Unusual

I enjoyed writing these anthology, and I want to share with you how I came up with the stories.

With the “Dummy” short story, I felt it was important to write it now. Why? Because the realistic horror of drunk and wrong-way drivers have touched many lives. We have all been saddened by the local news reports of fatal DUI or wrong-way car crashes. I wanted to give my readers a look into the world of a drunk driver and what the future punishment might look like.

In that story—like today—we have been warned about the dangers of intoxicated or distracted driving. As with some people today, the character in the story ignored these warnings and paid the consequences. Of course, this story’s punishment is more severe than anything we see now.

There was another reason I felt the urgency to write this piece. I predict that in ten years drunk driving will be a thing of the past. I know what you’re thinking—Erik, how can that be? In the near future, autonomous cars are going to outnumber manual vehicles. We are testing them right now. We see them every day on the news. When these autonomous cars take over, drunks will be driven home by their cars, and not the cars by the intoxicated person. Here’s a sad note. The organ donor network also sees this coming. They are worried about the autonomous vehicles taking over. If there are fewer fatal crashes, there will be fewer organs available. Who would have thought that would be a thing to worry about?

The short story “Early Release” was a fun one to write. I wanted to put a twist on the meaning of the term Early Release. Usually, it is a good thing for the prisoner, but not in this story. All of us have heard about murderers being released early and that is a scary thought.

Now, the victim’s family and the public have something to worry about. Will the ex-con return to his or her murderous ways? In this story, I decided to turn the tables on the whole Early Release situation. As you have read, I tried to give the story the ‘Sixth Sense treatment,’ with the Friend character. I also wanted to give the family a chance to get their frustrations and grief out, after losing a beloved family member. Finally, I gave them a way to forgive their son’s killer and not become pawns of vigilante justice.

How did “Public Pool” come about? One day I was thinking about creative ways to hide a body. An author’s mind is always busy. One of the methods that I came up with was hiding it under a swimming pool. It couldn’t be a backyard pool, that would be too obvious. Then it hit me, it had to be a public pool. Nothing is creepier than finding out, after your family had gone swimming at a public pool, that there were bodies buried underneath it.

So, my story started from there. Then, I created my characters and put them to work. In this story I wanted a business rival, betrayal, murder, and of course a unique way of giving justice. I hope you enjoyed the twist at the end. This is the first story in which I use text messages. I thought it would be a unique way of storytelling.

Now to the last story, “Broken Justice.” This was my original idea for writing this book. How did I come up with such an unusual story? It all started when I was a victim of ID theft at my work. One of the places I had to go was the IRS office, to report that my social security number might have been stolen.

While I was there, I had to go through a security checkpoint. The armed guard checked me for weapons with a wand and asked for my ID. I was given a ticket and told to wait in the seating area. I sat down with the rest of the people waiting my turn.

One by one, people’s numbers were called. They entered through the door of a numbered cubicle. When it was my turn to go in, I was expecting to speak to an IRS representative. But instead of a real person, there was a monitor. And on the screen, there was an IRS agent from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was video chatting with me here in Phoenix. I thought it was odd that there wasn’t a real person in a cubicle, due to the security.

Later that same week, I had to do some business at the DMV. Yes, most of us have been there at one time or another. The long wait for your number to be called. All those confusing electronic boards. You know what I’m talking about.

While I was sitting there, boredom began to set in and my author’s mind started to wander. An idea came to me as I sat. Wouldn’t it be a cool story setting if I combined the IRS with the DMV? Voilà! “Broken Justice” was born. As I created the story, I decided to address how the innocent might be wrongfully executed and the guilty could be released. Much like today’s judicial system.

I changed cubicles into pods. That way I can play on people’s fear of claustrophobia, hopelessness, and being wrongfully accused. This might be a glimpse into the future of our judicial system. Who knows? But if it gets broken, I hope there’s a repair man to make things right.

You might be wondering, what I am going to write next? As of this publication, I will be penning the third book of the Garbageman Trilogy. The working title is Wraith. I may or may not keep that title. I will let you know once it is written. My plan is to make the last book the best in the series. All of us have read a trilogy where the last story was a letdown. I am not going to do that to my readers. I will not publish it until I feel it will blow your minds. Thank you again for reading my stories. Please leave a review, so others will read this book. Until next time.

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