Tuesday, April 28, 2015

MOTLEYTOWN

THE MOTLEYTOWN BONEFISH EXTRAVAGANZA
Copyright 2015 John G. Bascom

EXCERPT


"W
hat would you like to do with your time off?" Nickie asked.  
"Honestly?  What about bone-fishing in the Bahamas.  The weather is warm and sunny this time of year, and you'd love seeing the flats around Andros Island.  Where Jack Verdon and I went."
"Is it nice there?  Where would we be staying?"
"Jack and I were at the Bonefish Club on the North Island.  It's Spartan but clean and comfortable.  Last time he went by himself, though, he tried a different place.  Where the accommodations were more basic, but there's less fishing pressure and the action is better."

I Googled it and came up with a phone number.  The basic website confirmed it was the one Jack had mentioned, on Littlesalt Cay by the south bite.
"Motleytown Deluxe Resort an' Bonefish Lodge.  Lindsey Motley."  A man's voice answered with the classic Bahamian dialect I had come to know during my visits there.
After identifying myself and exchanging a few pleasantries, I said, "Yeah.  My wife and I are looking to come down there for a little bone-fishing.  Is that something we could set up with you?"
"Oh…ya, mon.  Bonefish dey be our specialty."
"I was thinking of a few days next week." 
There was a long silence.
Finally, "No, Suh.  We all full.  Duh guess, dey mus book tree, usually six muns ahead.  Sometime a year.  No way nex week."  His voice sounded both incredulous and irritated at my stupidity.
"Look," I said.  "I'm only talking a night or two.  And we're flexible.  We could pop down anytime next week.  Is there anything...?"
"Jus one minute, Suh…"  I could hear him flipping pages in what I imagined was a reservation register.
After a few seconds he came back on the line.  "We may put you in duh annex, Suh.  Dey iz one vacancy dere.  But yas mus come Tuesday and be gone by Tursday in duh mornin.  Dot be okay?"

I was able to book a charter in a beat up old four-passenger twin out of Fort Lauderdale, direct to Motleytown, Andros Island.  I sat in front to the pilot's right, while Nickie rode in one of the backseats.  The upholstery was worn through with a few wads of remaining stuffing poking out.  Black crankcase oil flowed in a little rivulet from a crack in the right engine cowling back and into the airstream.  The paint, what was left, was faded, scratched, and worn through.  Little bare-aluminum riveted repair patches dotted the metal skin.  The radio the pilot used—apparently the only one working among the aging relics—was held in place beneath the instrument panel by nylon tie-wraps.  Bundles of wires wound everywhere.  We were out of sight of land.
"Is this safe," Nickie said in a weak voice, more a concerned statement than a question.
Our final approach to the short and narrow crushed-shell airstrip was over a wet marsh.  A wrecked Seneca II twin, much like one I had trained in back in the day, sat half-submerged a few hundred yards short of the runway, its engines gone and doors sprung unnaturally forward.
"Been there more'n twenty years," our pilot commented.  "Longer'n I've been commin' here."
We hopped out and walked to the little open-sided wooden pavilion where a heavyset, squat and bald black Bahamian stood waiting.  His red cap, peaked in front like those that elevator operators wore when there still were any, had the word CUSTOMS stitched on the fabric in front.  A wooden and crudely hand-lettered sign nailed crooked to a post announced, WELCOME TO THE BAHHAMMAS, the name of the country clearly misspelled. 
We signed a customs form and showed our passports while the pilot offloaded our luggage.  That pretty well completed our official reception.
"A cab was supposed to meet us," I said to the agent.
"Over dere, Suh," he said, pointing to a rusty, unmarked vintage car a few yards behind the pavilion.  There was no one in it.
We carried our gear to the vehicle and looked around.  The customs agent had followed.  He opened the driver's side, slid behind the wheel, removed the customs hat and donned a similar but yellow one that read CAB across the front.  Nickie and I looked at each other, loaded our luggage, and hopped in the back.
"I Lindsey Motley," the driver said as we pulled away.  "Welcome ta Motleytown."

The Motleytown Deluxe Resort & Bonefish Lodge was an aging, two-story mortar structure like those of the bygone fifties-era motels one sees in the dying beach towns of mid-Florida's Atlantic coast.  The once-whitewashed exterior was stained with gray streaks and blotches.  Inside, the wooden floor was darkened and uneven.  What served as a registration desk sat along one wall in the small combination lobby-bar. 
After Lindsey checked us in, he said, "Ya care for a drink from duh bar before goin to yas room?"  He motioned to the dark, old wooden bar along the opposite wall, its veneer warped and separating in places.
"Sure.  I'll have a vodka and tonic."
"White wine, please," Nickie said.
He walked behind the bar and placed a conch-colored baseball cap on his head that read Motleytown Deluxe Resort, and under it, BARTENDER, all in brown letters.
We sat on unsteady barstools and sipped the drinks that were particularly refreshing after our daylong travels.
"What ya like fer ya suppuh, and at what time ya eat?" Lindsey asked.
"Whenever and whatever your other guests are doing is fine with us," I said.  "We'll go with the program."
"Ah…Suh…," he said.  "Ya an duh Missus be duh only guess.  Iz fer ya ta say."

Our quarters on the second floor were accessed by an exterior wooden stairway.  There was a bedroom, sitting room, and bath, all surprisingly spacious.  The floors were peeling linoleum tile squares, the walls stained plaster with a few holes punched here or there.  The door jams were all out of square.  The toilet stool had gaps between its base and the tile, the plumbing visible in the floor below.
"Nice," Nickie said, her sarcasm obvious enough.
"Lindsey said the fishing skiff will be across the street by the pier off the beach in the morning."  I was trying to change the subject.  "We'll meet our guide there, I guess, around eight sharp.  After breakfast.  I checked, and the weather should be fine."
She nodded glumly.  It was a bad sign.
We arrived in the dining room for supper just off the lobby at the appointed time, seven in the evening.  It was still bright outside.
Lindsey walked into the room wearing a French-style, high and puffed white chef's hat.  Red lettering around the band said Kiss the Cook.
"What I fix ya fer tonight?" he said with a happy smile.
"So you're the cook, too!" I said.  "Hope you're getting paid for all this."
"Da regla cook be from Arizona," he said.  "Was in duh prison dere.  He gun leff hare sudden lass night.  Dey find him, I tink, he hadda go ver fass.  I take care'ah yas, doe."
I hadn't seen a server, either.  "You the waiter, too?"
"Waitress be duh girlfrien.  Har goin wit dot mon, duh cook.  I bring ya duh food, ok?"
"A lot for one fellow to do."
"My brudder, Umfry.  He be over ta Nassau today, but gun come hare tonight.  He duh big boss, duh owner.  He help me out when he get hare."
"So Humphrey's the owner of the Motleytown Deluxe Resort?" I said more than asked, clearly pronouncing the H.
"Umfry," Lindsey said.  No H.
"Humphrey?"
"It be Umfry."
"How do you spell it?"
"Umfry."  Saying it again but not spelling out each letter.
"Okay, then," I said.

The bed was lumpy but passable.  Nickie and I both read for awhile, she dozing off and me getting up to use the bathroom.  I opened the door from our bedroom to the main room and switched on the light.  The biggest cockroach I'd ever seen scuttled away under the glare of the light.
I swear I could have thrown a saddle over him and broke him right there.  But I took the book I was carrying and hurled it down on him.  It was a perfect hit, the book landing flat and hard directly on the squirrel-sized insect with a loud bang.
"Bingo!" I thought.  "One roach down."
The thick hardcover novel bounced off the bug.  It continued on unfazed, as if nothing had happened.  I grabbed the book from the floor and gave chase, intending to administer another crushing blow.  The cockroach scurried beneath the wide gap under the bathroom door.  In fast pursuit, I threw it open in time to see him dive beneath the toilet base through the gap in the floor.
"Damn!" I said out loud.  I used the toilet quickly, one eye on the opening, then returned to bed, careful to close the doors behind.  I never said a word to Nickie. 

After breakfast Lindsey confirmed we were to take our things to the pier directly across the dirt main street, the harbor road of Motleytown.
"Umfry, he gun be hare dis night," Lindsey told us as we rose to go to our room and collect our gear.

"Fine," I said.  I thought I remembered him saying last evening Umfry would be here this morning, but really couldn't see what difference it made to us either way.

The beach was a heaping mound of broken, pink and white conch shells that stretched along
the shore as far as one could see.  A collection of aging wooden boats rode at anchor a few yards off the beach.  Near the end of a sagging and twisted wooden pier sat a classic sixteen-foot or so bone-fishing skiff with a forty-horse Johnson outboard, a level casting deck across the bow, and a poling platform extending on legs above the stern...
...continued...
_______________________________________




Look for the entire Motleytown Bonefish Extravaganza and other short stories about hunting, fishing and adventure in John Bascom's upcoming collection, Beneath a Hunter's Sky, due out this summer.

Friday, November 7, 2014

John Bascom Biography


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CAINE'S PESTILENCE REVIEWS

Praise for Caine's Pestilence
from readers and reviewers 

Wyblog US

I could summarize my review in three words: Read. This. Book… Caine's Pestilence is a masterstroke of satirical genius…I couldn't put it down. (Chris Wysocki August 21, 2011 www.wyblog.us) 

 

PoliticalRealities

One of the most compelling and unusual books I have ever had the pleasure of reading...totally original and both comedic and horrifying at the same time.  From the time I opened the first page, it made me want to read it straight through…if you decide to read only one book this year, it should be Caine’s Pestilence.  (LD Jackson Oct. 2, 2011 www.ldjackson.net 

 

Free Republic

(H)ighly recommend, but …more scary than Stephen King's "IT" which, to this day, still causes goosebumples when I think of the clown-monster.  I will not even try to offer up a glimpse of the terror and horrible events that are part of the plot, and I do mean PLOT!!  Get it and set aside an evening to read it. Make sure the doors and windows are locked and unplug the phone! (GRRR…Free Republic, Sept. 7, 2011, http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-chat/2775067/posts)

 

Goodreads
By Melinda Le Baron—October 30—Goodreads...very tightly plotted... dialogue is priceless...pacing lickety-split quick...ending so surprising you could have knocked me over...perfect for people who like finishing novels with a smile...by far this book is singular in its execution.

 

BGabby--January 20--Goodreads...I loved this book! Nancy Pelosi as president? G W Bush imprisoned for war crimes? The hopelessly politically correct doublespeak? I haven't laughed this hard at a political novel since Tricky Dicky and Good As Gold...All I know is that I'm keeping this one to enjoy again.

 

Amazon.com Reader Reviews 

NEW  5.0 out of 5 stars By  Joyce Metzger--July 4--Savage Satire Coupled With Dark Intrigue...excellent...A thought-provoking story...(author) writes from dedicated research and true life experience


By Psychonate--Sept 1--awesome book! Amazingly entertaining...down right scary! Should be a requirement for students.  Finished in two days and that's only because I had to sleep and work.


By Dannette—March 26… rides the fence of politics beautifully, with a spot-on sense of timing and humor.  I found myself laughing countless times at the irony 

 

By "cobweb"—October 9…Spellbinding with an edgy awareness that the ridiculous situation inching Caine to his death is uncannily possible… Caine's observations, inappropriate humor and irreverent satire bind this twisted plot into an intriguing read and a wakeful night… Totally great reading and we want more. 

 

By Daune Robinson—April 14…can't remember the last time I enjoyed finding a new author this much - well, yes, I can - it was when I read Watchers and fell in love with Dean Koontz! This book was a pleasure to read. I laughed, cried, screamed and could not put it down. Read it! 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

CNBC Comments on Caine's Pestilence

  AS SEEN ON PRNEWSWIRE, CNBC...


Political Satire Novel Lampoons Nancy Pelosi, Liberals

"One of the most compelling and unusual books ...ever"  Political Realities

 

GLADWIN, Mich., -- Caine's Pestilence, a novel melding biotech mystery and political satire, has been released by Canniche Cove Publishing. Written by new author John Bascom, the fictional work unfolds in a surreal 2015  where Nancy Pelosi is president and the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party firmly controls America.

 
The novel is distinctive in that it defies standard classifications of literary genre, containing elements of action-adventure, biotech science fiction, humor, and political parody. Bascom uses actual public figures as characters. In addition to Pelosi, Minnesota Senator Al Franken is the chief justice of the Supreme Court, while Rush Limbaugh is a fugitive beaming bootleg broadcasts into the US from Canada.

John Bascom, author
"I wanted to write something absolutely unique," Bascom says, "something that would give voice to my concerns about the destructiveness of the liberal agenda taking hold in our country, but in a way that avoids rants or preaching and is delivered in an entertaining, engaging way." Bascom's story unfolds from the pen of the simple, hapless central character, John Caine, writing his memoirs from his death-row cell. An obscure administrator at the National Institutes of Health, Caine fortuitously creates a biological agent that, accidentally released into the population, changes the perceptions of ordinary people about the liberal agenda. The Pelosi administration then goes crazy and Caine is persecuted mercilessly in their efforts to stop it.


The author's mission of entertaining and engaging has met with success according to the conservative Wyblog.us, who calls Caine's Pestilence "...a masterstroke of satirical genius" and tells the blog's fans to Read. This. Book. Today! And the blog Political Realities says it's "...one of the most compelling and unusual books I have ever had the pleasure of reading." Individual Amazon reader-reviewers awarded the maximum 5 stars on average overall.


Caine's Pestilence is available in softcover or Kindle at Amazon.com and as a Nook eBook from Barnes & Noble.