Saturday, December 17, 2016

Chris DeWildt's Crime Noir Novel "Kill Em With Kindness" an education of violence . . .

Christal Cooper


Kill Em With Kindness

C.S. DeWildt on writing of Kill Em With Kindness: 
“I began writing the book about five years ago as a short story called “Our Hockey Girl”. It was a revenge story and originally the protagonist Nick was an elderly man. In my mind, I saw it as a “Grumpy Old Men meets Andre Dubus’s short story ‘Killing’,” but I was never happy with it. So, after about a dozen false starts (and a couple false finishes) I decided to age Nick down and the story just took off. It was the right decision.

There were a couple reasons for this. The first was I needed him to be a little more virile than I could plausibly expect an old man to be. Additionally, I felt that with an older protagonist I was getting bogged down in backstory, which I hate. Making Nick younger took care of both of these issues.

       Another reason was that I really wanted to write a straight noir novel and I wanted to be able to create some sexual tension between Nick and Kimmy. When Nick was old, he was more grandfatherly and I didn’t feel comfortable exploring any kind of romantic entanglement.

Nick as a young man is still to broken to “go there” but I wanted it to be on the table none the less. I liked the result as you have two damaged people who—had they met at different points in their lives—could have been together.”

Photoshop by Christal Rice Cooper 

Chris Rice Cooper’s Analysis on Kill Em With Kindness:
Nick Gillis is a widower still mourning the loss of his wife and their unborn child.  He’s also mourning the loss of his career, the loss of whatever prestige he had in the small Michigan town.  He has been able to maintain some sort of sane functionality but he is still plagued with memories so painful to revisit but yet he can’t help but caress what remains.

He traced his fingers over a series of photos that lined the hall to the master bedroom.  The affection soured and his fingers pulled the frames from the wall with such a nimble perfection.  It almost seemed as if that’s all they’d been made for, or perhaps the pictures fell from his caress, repelled by his touch. They were mostly photos of Grete and him.  Domestic shit he no longer wanted but didn’t have the energy to part with.

Nick continues to live in his own shell, safe from every one surrounding him, especially from the Lucifer-incarnate Chad Toll, who rules the small Michigan town with an iron fist with the help of his two demons of black dogs and two psycho ex-convicts Erik and Russell.  Nick manages to stay out of Chad Toll’s clutches, but all that changes when he sees Chad’s girlfriend Kimmy Flynn at the local bar.  

Photoshop by Christal Rice Cooper 

Her face was purple on the right side.  One eyelid stretched across her face, sealed tight and so swollen it looked like the slightest poke would burst it like an angry boil.  Her right arm was in a sling and she moved with a limp, trying to hide it and failing.
       But the most striking thing, aside from her not being with Chad, was the metal halo screwed into her head.

       Kimmy gets into an altercation with another girl and a violent fight ensues.  To prevent Kimmy from beating the girl to death and to save her from an arrest, Nick takes pity on Kimmy, separates her from the girl, and gives her a ride home. 

Nick later learns that Chad knows of his small but very successful marijuana business on the side, and he also knows that Nick gave Kimmy a ride home.   Chad and his two black dogs approach Nick at the local bar and he gives Nick a “choice.”  

       Doesn’t seem like I have much of a choice.”
       Chad smirked.  “There’s always a choice, Nick.  Don’t fool yourself.  You got a choice.  You always got one.”  Chad stood from his chair.  “You make your choice by morning. I hate to rush a man through his chance to choose.  So go.  Use your time.  I got churches to burn.”

       The Horton Police Department Chief acting under Chad’s orders confronts Nick with a videotape of Kimmy claiming Nick raped her.  He also gives Nick a free 24-hour stay in the county jail.   Nick’s choice has already been made.

       What happens between Chad and Nick is not a friendship, a business partnership, or even a battle between two enemies, but an education on violence.    The remaining of the novel is a full-fledged sensory of violence against humanity, animals, oneself that Nick has never encountered or even thought existed. 

       “Git ‘em,” was all Chad said and then the dogs were on Hobo and it was messy as you’d expect.  Helpless was the only way to feel, and horrified, watching the pieces of Hobo as they practically fell away from his frame and into the hot gullets of the beasts.

                      Scene from "Djaigon Unchained" FUUS

Nick finds himself trapped in two worlds- The World of Violence and the World of Greater Violence – but he yearns for a world of no violence.  Nick learns that Kimmy feels the same way and both agree to a plot of the ultimate violence, in hopes of finding peace.

       In the process Nick and Kimmy develop an affection for one another – a friendship with a hint of romance, and, Nick finds himself in awe of Kimmy and her talents, which include communing with a flock of crows.

Photoshop by Christal Rice Cooper 

       Kimmy opened a jar and took a handful of quarters.  She looked at Nick, and flashed a smile.  “Watch,” she whispered and threw the quarters into the air.  For a moment they were lost against the blare flare of the sun, then just as quickly reappeared in the grass before vanishing again, this time beneath the beating of black wings.
Nick watched as more and more crows descended on the yard, each coin found and retrieved by different birds.  Nick sat dumbstruck as the birds, one by one, perched atop the wooden box and deposited the coins into a visible slot.  On the side facing Nick and Kimmy, near the bottom, a small amount of yellow meal corn flowed from around a hole, catching in a small plastic cup fixed to the box with duct tape. 

       Nick is not the only one who is in awe; Chad is in complete awe of Nick Gillis and respects him, not at all suspicious of Nick and Kimmy’s plans for him.

       “I said you’re good people and I mean it.  You took her home, no thought of who I was. Yea, she gave me some of the story and I pieced together the rest from those assholes who would have let Kimmy kill that girl.  You got a good foundation in you, Nick.  So it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s going to be good.”

       Only it isn’t good – in fact, it is very bad and very ugly.   So ugly that the reader will experience another sensory full of violence – even more vile and dark than the previous pages of the book – so disturbing it will make the hair on their necks stand straight up, and, coming to the end, their eyes widening with shock, their lungs gasping for breath.

Biography on CS (Chris) DeWildt

CS (Chris) DeWildt lives and writes in Tucson Arizona. His titles include Kill ‘Em with Kindness, Love You to a Pulp, Candy and Cigarettes, and a collection of short stories titled Dead Animals. He recently finished a new novel and is working on a prequel to Love You to a Pulp.  He has a wife, two sons, and a dog named Bernie.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Guest Blogger Jesse Hotz: "I was falsely accused of domestic violence. . ."

Christal Cooper

                                             Jesse Hotz 
                                                 Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz 

Guest Blogger Jesse Hotz
My Side of the Story
False Domestic Violence Allegations Nightmare

On Sunday, January 31st, 2016, I was working in the basement of our Marion, Montana family home, wiring the basement family rec room and hanging up sheet rock with a sheet rock lifting machine.    I had previously completed a family home remodel of our Montana retirement home, which provided a basement apartment (1,200 square foot area) for my mother-in-law, Linda Ann Greene.  Her basement apartment included a bedroom, bathroom, private kitchen area, living room, sewing room, and closets.

                     Marion, Montana Hotz Family Home  
                               Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz 

While working that Sunday afternoon I drank 3 to 4 Bud Lime beers and was still sober.  My wife Katherine Hotz, her mother Linda Ann Green, my 11 year old son W.H. and my 9 year old daughter E.H. had all gone ice fishing in the Kalispell, Montana area.  Around 5:00 p.m., I started calling their cell phones to check on them, and I did not receive any return phone calls.  When everyone returned home at 6:30 p.m., I was relieved, and greeted everyone in a friendly manner. 

                     Left, map of Kalispell, Montana.
                              Right:  View of Kalispell, Montana.

W.H., went to his bedroom to play his Nintendo Wii games.  Katherine, Linda Ann Greene, and E.H. were all sitting at the kitchen counter.  I overheard Linda yell at W.H. to get a bag of pellets for the pellet stove in her basement living room area.  Since my son W.H. was in his bedroom playing the Nintendo Wii, I went to the attached garage (right off the kitchen) to get her requested bag of pellets.  I carried the 40-pound bag of pellets from the garage area to the downstairs pellet stove.  As I was passing back through the kitchen, Katherine yelled and questioned me why I moved the bag of pellets.  I told her I was doing what Linda requested to do. 

E.H. went downstairs to pick up the bag of pellets and carry them back upstairs to her mom, Katherine.  Linda screamed at me for allowing E.H. to carry the 40 pound bag of pellets.

                                  Daughter E.H. Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 

I pointed my finger at her, while she was sitting across the wide kitchen counter.  I emphatically told her to “……Stay the (expletive) out of my business.”  She reached across the counter, grabbed my finger, and slapped my hand away.  I told Linda that she was going to regret causing more problems with our family.  Katherine charged at me and tried to head butt me, which she had done to me on numerous occasions.   I put my left hand up in front of my face to defend myself, backed away, and then walked away from the kitchen area into the living room.     

                                    Jesse Hotz.  Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 
I immediately walked away from the kitchen area and into the living room.  I heard Linda call 911 and then Katherine and Linda took WH and EH and left our family home.  As they were leaving, WH looked at me and shrugged his shoulders.  I interpreted this as W.H. acknowledging that he had to once again go along with his mother and his grandmother, until both had settled down.   

                      Son W.H.  Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 

That Sunday evening, I received a phone call from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Department.

When the three (3) Flathead County law enforcement officials arrived, I invited them into the house living room to talk.  They asked me if I had been drinking, and I told them I drank 3 to 4 beers, but that I was sober.  Immediately, I was placed in double handcuffs without being frisked.  At that very moment, I informed them, that my Kel-Tec 9 was in my back pocket.  Next, I was taken to jail.  I was in shock, but then thought that this was either a major misunderstanding or simply law enforcement procedure. 

I had never been in jail before.  It was absolutely devastating, humiliating, and demoralizing.  I felt like it was a bad nightmare.  This jail cell was occupied by about a dozen other men, who were accused of robbery, drugs, and DUIs.  I definitely was an “outsider” in this group of men.

I later learned from a close relative who is in law enforcement that I legally should have been given my Miranda rights at the time of the arrest. I was not allowed a phone call or the opportunity to give a written or recorded police statement in my own defense. 

The police report stated, that I was intoxicated, which is false because I was sober.  I was not given a blood alcohol test for my BAC or a field sobriety test as proof of intoxication. 

The next day, February 1, 2016 the Flathead County Judge simply told me to go home.  As I was being released, one of the Flathead County officers informed me that my wife and mother-in-law had filed an emergency restraining order against me, which meant I could not return to my home. 

The Flathead County law enforcement officer called my wife, Katherine to set up an arrangement for me to get my personal belongings.  Her response was that she would be in Washington State for the next several weeks, so I would have to wait.  

By this time it was late Monday afternoon, (February 1st, 2016) in Kalispell, Montana, and there was a freezing cold snowstorm with below-zero temperatures.  I only had my tennis shoes, blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a vest jacket.  I did not have any cash, identification, credit cards, or a cell phone with contact phone numbers.  At this point, I was homeless and destitute. 

                     Weather forecast photo of Kalispell, Montana.
                                Attributed to Betty Jo Jones.  Public Domain. 

For the next 6 to 8 hours, I walked around Kalispell, Montana in a freezing cold snowstorm in tennis shoes and no winter coat and without any money, credit cards, identification, or a cell phone.  All the homeless shelters were closed, as they were full, due to the Kalispell winter snowstorm and blizzard.  I was able to seek shelter and help from a businessman and his wife, as I had done contractor work for them in Kalispell, Montana.  They were very caring and kind to help me get a motel room for the night. 

                     Downtown area of Kalispell, Montana.
                               Fair Use 

While in that motel room, I was at a complete rock bottom point in my life, and I felt that I had no choice but to file for divorce.  The agonizing feelings of despair and hopeless betrayal were beyond words. I honestly do not think, that my wife, Katherine Greene Hotz, expected me to file for a divorce, as I was always loyal.  

                     Rainbow photograph attributed to Jesse Hotz.
                               Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 

The next day (Tuesday, 02/02/2016), I called another business associate to give me a ride from Kalispell, Montana to Marion, Montana.  I had called the Flathead County Police Department again to help me retrieve my personal belongings with my wallet (including my credit cards and money), my driver’s license, cell phone, prescription eyeglasses, prescription medications, winter jacket, winter clothes, winter boots, and so on.  I also needed to get my truck.

                     Weather Forecast photo of man walking in snow in Marion, Indiana.
                                Public Domain. 

Thankfully, another business friend and a police officer were able to drive me with the half-hour drive from Kalispell, Montana to Marion, Montana to get my personal belongings and my truck.  I had ten (10) minutes to quickly get my things.  As it turned out, my wife, her mother, and my two (2) young children were not at the Marion, Montana family home, as they had gone to Washington State for the Super Bowl game with the Seattle Seahawks playing in the 2016 Super Bowl.  I will forever remember finding a hidden and loving note from my 9-year old daughter, E.H., on my bedroom pillow.  Her precious note read, “I LOVE YOU DADDY.”  Under her note was my wallet. 

After retrieving my personal belongings, I stayed at a budget motel in Kalispell, Montana for another night.  
I called my 91-year old dad in Texas.  My dad loaned me the money to hire a lawyer. 

                           Jesse Hotz holding his father's hand.  Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 

On that same day, (Tuesday, 02/02/2016), I went to see a local lawyer.  There would be a $1,500 retainer fee for the legal divorce part and another $1,500 retainer fee for the lawyer to handle my domestic violence charges.  I knew, that I had to prove my innocence first and foremost.  I also had to regain custody and visitation with my kids.  I refused to plead guilty to the domestic violence charge nor accept a plea deal for the domestic violence charge, because I was innocent. 

I also needed to find a place to live.  Again, a business friend and a Kalispell law enforcement officer accompanied me to get my motor home in Marion, Montana.  I was able to set up my motor home in a Marion, Montana trailer park area for $250.00 per month.

                                Jesse Hotz standing next to his mobile home.
                                Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 
So, I was now living in a motor home without running water in a trailer park in rural Marion, Montana during the dead cold of winter; while, my wife, Katherine Greene Hotz, and her mother, Linda Ann Greene, were living together in a spacious 5,000+ square-foot and luxurious family retirement home in Marion, Montana, which I was paying for entirely.

                     Marion, Montana Hotz Family Home  
                               Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz 

I have since learned, that this is not an easy legal feat or an easy road.  The worst part was losing custody of my Children and only having phone visitation once a week for an hour or so.  Even then, their phone calls were closely monitored by their mother.  My Children were hurt the most, and all I could do was reassure them that their Dad Loves them very much.  And, I kept reminding them to “….Keep Smiling, Be Happy, and Be Loving …..” 

A close personal friend and legal advocate extensively researched online and located these pertinent articles, pertaining to false domestic violence allegations. 

      Stop False Allegations of Domestic Violence
       (Petition2Congress:  Free Petitions That Send Email to Capitol Hill.)

      False Allegations of Abuse Target Men in Divorce
       (Huffington Post, HuffPost Divorce, Joseph E. Cordell, Cordell Law, dated 11/18/2015.)

      Gallatin County Judge Rules Domestic Violence Law Discriminates Against Men” (Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Whitney Bermes, Chronicle Staff Writer, dated 03/26/2016.)
                                              Gallatin County Judge Rick West.  Public Domain

These articles were truly informative and relevant, and led me to a new understanding of why my wife and mother-in-law made these false accusations:  both were not happy about my early retirement from Boeing, since there would no longer be a 6+-digit family income.  I believe they made the false accusations in hopes that it would force me to go back to work with Boeing in either Washington State, or Helena, Montana, and therefore I  would only be able to return for short family visits on my days off from work. 
                     view of Helena, Montana 

Even though it didn’t go as they planned, they still have had an advantage over me through the legal divorce process and the legal criminal process.  I had to fight tooth and nail to clear my name and my record.  Regaining visitation and shared custody of my Children has been a saving grace. 
                         Jesse Hotz.  Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 

Throughout the entire arduous and lengthy legal process for the next six (6) months, I learned that many men, husbands, and fathers are the victims of false domestic violence allegations. Criminally and legally, men who are falsely accused of domestic violence are treated guilty, until they can prove their innocence.  Usually they are forced from their family homes, and not allowed contact with their children.   Most cannot hire experienced attorney, and if they do, it is a great legal expense.  In many cases, these innocent men have to rely on public defenders, who are too busy and overworked to fully represent them.  In many cases, the innocent men agree to take plea deals, which adversely affect long-term employment, child custody, gun rights, etc.    

The false accuser usually retains the family home, custody of the children, and full financial support during the lengthy legal process. 

The innocent man being accused is simply hung out to dry and treated as a dangerous and guilty criminal and wife-beater.  And, even if and when the legal and criminal charges are dismissed against the male victim, there is no accountability whatsoever for the false accuser, who has falsely accused the male victim with false domestic violence allegations.  There is not even so much as a slap on the wrist.   And, even with false domestic violence allegations, the false accuser has everything to gain and nothing to lose.  There is not any legal or ethical accountability whatsoever.

Hopefully, with increased public awareness, advocacy, activism, and support, new laws will be enacted to fix this horrific problem for male victims and their families. 

After spending over $30,000.00+ in legal costs with several attorneys, my legal battles are still far from over.  There will be more legal issues and legal costs, which will probably take several more years and thousands more dollars. "Que Sera. Sera."

My Life has been shattered and devastated by the false domestic violence allegations "Silver Bullet."

All of the emotional, mental, financial, and physical anguish and stress has aged me decades beyond my years.  And, all of the family stress has had other heartbreaking repercussions. My 91-year old Dad just had a double massive stroke.

                     Jesse holding his father's hand.  Copyright granted by Jesse Hotz. 

Some days, I keep asking myself when it will ever end. And, through all the ups and downs, I truly and honestly still have to work one day at a time at being "Better" and not "bitter."

My Children and Family are My Saving Graces.  So, I pull on my boots and face "My Little Ones," and I put on My Strong, Brave, and Loving Dad face. To that end, "We Dad Soldiers Must Keep On Keeping On" .... "Carry On, My Brothers."  AMEN.