An excerpt from Marc's romance novel, AGAIN...
Saturday came soon enough. Richard dressed his best,
shaved his closest and combed every hair. He was ready to
m eet the parents. On the way, he stopped off at the
Reading Terminal Market and bought fresh flowers for
Patricia’s mother. He also bought a few pints of Bassetts
ice cream, an exclusive gift from the gods offered at the
market and a Philadelphia delicacy since 1861. It was
Patricia’s favorite food on earth.
So, fully loaded to impress as best he could, Richard
circled the streets around 22nd and Lombard until he
finally found a legal parking space. Then he walked the
three blocks to Patricia’s house and climbed the steps to
the front door. Despite psyching himself out regarding
previous feelings about the house, he noticed his hand
shaking nervously as he reached up to knock on the door.
Within a brief moment, the door opened and there stood,
not Patricia, but her mother.
“Well lookie here,” she said. “You must be Richard,
the drive-by boyfriend who has finally decided to come
meet the parents. And as luck would have it, it’s the
mother you must face first.” Louise was all smiles. Richard
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Peterson, well worth
parking the car. And not to worry, I am up for the
challenge because your daughter is the wonder of my life.”
“Do come in, you’ve won round one.” Louise told him
as she opened the door wider. Richard held up the flowers.
“These are for you.”
“And round two, also” Louise said as she took the
flowers. By now Patricia was running up behind her
“Oops, I guess I’m too late,” she said as she gave
Richard a brief kiss on his cheek. “At least she hasn’t eaten
“Yet,” said Richard.
“That’s because he came with a bribe,” Mrs. Peterson
said as she showed the flowers to Patricia.
“I told you he was smart,” Patricia said.
“Hey, I got my “A” game on tonight,” Richard said as
he handed an insulated bag to Patricia.
“Is this what I think it is?” she asked.
“Yep, but I get some of the French Vanilla.”
“Come in the kitchen while I put this in the freezer,”
Patricia said as she took the ice cream from Richard. He
followed her and as he walked through the doorway into
the kitchen he froze and just stood staring throughout the
room. It was the most incredible feeling he had ever had
and it must have shown.
“My God, what is wrong Richard?” Patricia asked.
“You look like you’ve seen a real ghost.” He didn’t
respond. He kept staring with an intense look of
“Richard!” Patricia said, this time loudly.
“I’ve been in this room before. I can’t explain it. But I
know this room. There used to be a wall there, between
the door and the entrance into the parlor.”
“Parlor?” Patricia asked. “You mean the living room,
don’t you? No one says parlor anymore. And besides,
many of these old houses have the same floor plan so
you’ve probably seen it somewhere else.”
“But he is right,” Mrs. Peterson said. “There used to
be a wall there. My mother told me it was one of the first
changes made to the house.”
“And just under the bottom edge of the cabinet over
there.” Richard said as he pointed, “you can see where the
floor is scorched. That’s where the oven used to be. And
right up there, see on the wall where there’s a slight round
impression under the paint? That’s where the stovepipe
went out through the wall.”
By now, both Louise and Patricia were staring at
Richard with concern. Richard reached over and pulled a
chair out from under the table.
“This is all too much,” he said. “I have to sit down.
None of this makes any sense. I don’t know how to handle
it. But if ever there was déjà vu, this is it.”
Excerpt from Marc's Suspense Mystery, DEAD LETTER...
Adding to the difficulty of launching an assault against
some of Japan’s best troops, the American effort would be
hampered by miscalculations and unanticipated problems.
The tide levels expected for launch time were misjudged.
The Higgins boats were not able to make it over the coral
reef offshore. Consequently, many sat stranded atop the
hard coral, easy targets for enemy fire. A good number of
them were merely blown apart where they sat. Their troops
were disgorged in the explosions, flying through the air and
then landing in the shallow water beneath them.
Those aboard crafts that were not yet hit, quickly
abandoned them, finding themselves in chest-high water
with the weight of full gear and no protection from the
horrendous shower of machine gun fire from some of the
500 Japanese pillboxes that populated the rise above the
Robert peered slightly over the side of the Higgins boat
and watched in horror at what was happening all around
him. There were bodies everywhere, many of them floating
lifelessly in the surf. Many were in pieces only. The water
had turned red all around him. Most of the Marines in the
boat with him were hunched over with blank stares or
quivering lips that were muttering prayers and other
thoughts out loud. Many were throwing up from nerves or
Years of riding out storms or heavy swells on the
Chesapeake had made his body accustomed to rough seas.
He was alert to everything going on around him. This was
definitely not the Chesapeake. Nor was it the tranquil,
scenic shore of the Corsica River. And, most certainly, it
was not like looking down at the water lapping up against
the dock of an old abandoned boatshed where he sat next to
a beautiful girl whose laughter he could no longer hear.
No, where he was now was unlike anything he could have
ever envisioned. This was some strange, horrific nightmare
he was in...and all of it was so far from home, and so distant
from all that he had once known and loved.
A total of 125 landing craft, Amtraks and Higgins, were
launched that day onto the beach at Tarawa. Only 35
completed their mission.