Psycho-Tropics Excerpts by Subject Matter
Psycho-Tropics is designed to appeal to a wide variety of audiences, as shown by the excerpts below.
Sports, Religion, Politics, Romance — whatever your interests or hobbies — Psycho-Tropics has something educational to offer.
“How did you ever happen to pick those [lottery] numbers anyway?” he asked, lateralling the pliers.
“They were the jersey numbers of the six best running backs who ever played for the Dolphins.”
“No kidding. You never told me that. That’s kind of mystical if you think about it.” Grady believed strongly in the supernatural. “So lemee guess, Csonka, Kick, Mercury Morris. Those are easy. Okay, number four would be … I know, Tony Nathan!”
“You got it.”
“Yo-ho. Let’s see. The last two are tough. I’m not sure the Dolphins ever had six good running backs.” Their mutual love-hate for Miami’s sports franchises was part of their bond. “I’ll take a wild stab. Leroy Harris?”
“That fumblin’ bastard,” Grady cackled as if he and Harris were bosom buddies. “And …” He scratched his sagebrush head. “Damn, I’m stuck.”
“Lorenzo Hampton,” Danny said.
“Hampton?” He made a sound like a tire rupturing. “Hampton?”
“Well, I was like you. I ran out at the end so I went with a Florida Gator.”
Grady nodded. “I guess that should count for something, but you should’ve picked a Miami Hurricane.”
“Then I wouldn’t have won the lottery.”
“Decent point. Back to the subject.”
“Detective Stills, you represent the government, is that right?”
“Yes, it is right.” Fink turned to the crowd. “The government.”
“Detective, do you know the Florida criminal statutes well?”
“Well, do you have an actual set of the Florida Statutes in your office?”
“As a matter of fact I do,” Stills said smugly.
“You do? Well, that’s nice. It’s nice to know the government, using taxpayer dollars from freedom-loving people like the good citizens in this courtroom today, can afford to buy you a nice set of Florida Statutes.”
Danny heard Grady grumble from the gallery.
“So tell us, Oh-Mister-Super-Great-Expert on the Florida Statutes, is it a crime in this state for one man to admire, respect and love another?”
“No more questions.”
He stopped mopping the blood from his face to marvel at the paper towel. Wow. Talk about absorbency. No wonder Consumer Guide rated it number one.
Fink stared at the restroom mirror with flared nostrils, baring his teeth.
“You talking to me?” He whipped the pistol from his waistband, but it got caught on the microphone wire taped to his belly and clattered to the floor, cracking one of the ceramic tiles. He swept it up in a smooth motion like it was all part of the plan and pointed it at the mirror. “Are you talking to me?”
Move over De Niro. Mother fucker, he was getting badder by the second.
He laid the gun on the counter and refastened the wire to the microphone disguised as a shirt button. He retested the recorder taped to his groin. Still worked. He got the recorder and button mic from the Spy All Day store at the mall. Only sixty bucks. He rebuttoned his shirt and tucked the gun back in.
Tight fit. He’d join a gym when this mess was over.
He snapped his fingers. “Mullins, gimme the search warrant.” A cop with acne, who looked young enough to be in high school, unfolded a sheet of paper and handed it to Rodriguez, who held it in front of Danny. Hands cuffed behind him, he nosed in to study it.
“It’s just a form.”
“So-oo sorry, Teakwell. I forgot you’re such a special person. Next time I’ll ask the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court to handwrite a search warrant for you personally, maybe even deliver it himself, with flowers and a box of candy.”
“You got my middle name wrong,” Danny said. Maybe that made the warrant invalid.
“If you have some correction fluid, we’ll fix it. In the meantime, let me give you some friendly advice. There are two kinds of criminals. Those who cooperate and those who don’t. Reliable statistics show those who do live happier, healthier lives.”
Death and Dying
“He’s probably embalming someone. You might want to wait until he’s done unless you’re used to it. Have you ever seen anyone get embalmed?”
“I can’t say I have.”
“It’s very interesting.”
“It’s an old practice. Centuries old. That’s hundreds of years. It’s pretty yucky, but it’s gotten a lot better.”
Danny laughed. “That’s good to know.”
“In the old days, they used to have to e-vis-er-ate you.” She sounded the word out carefully. “That means take out your brains and intestines and junk. Then they’d stuff you with Herb to make you smell good.”
“Good ol’ Herb.”
“Yeah. But it was messy, messy, messy. They don’t do it like that anymore. Do you know what they do now?”
“I have a feeling I’m about to find out.”
“Yep.” A smile slipped. “First, they cut open your neck and pump out your blood. Then you get filled up with embalming fluid.”
“Very good. Actually, it’s called formalin. It’s formaldehyde and water put together. After that, they stick this long needle in your stomach. It’s like a shishkabob thing except a lot bigger. A little pump sucks all the juices out of you and they fill you back up with some real pretty blue stuff. That part’s called aspiration.”
The kid obviously knew what she was talking about. He might learn more from her than her father. Danny doubted Jewell was going to be eager to help.
“I can help you, but you have to let me get you back to the hospital.”
“Don’t think so. Have you seen the kind of people they let live in that place? Believe me, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. Well, not really. Actually, I don’t feel that much about it one way or the other. I guess Lazlo was right about something. I really do love you, but there’s a fine line between love and death, as they say.”
Hurry up! He leaned against the wall, jostling a string of rosary beads and large cross hanging from a coat hook.
This was not good. The Lord’s Cross hanging—hanging—right here, not two inches from both of his eyes. Two inches. Two eyes. Oh-man. O-men. A pair of twos. He hated twos. He squeezed his eyes shut and prepared for the inevitable chattering of synapses that came in times of stress. His teeth were rattling when, in an epiphany, his panic dissolved.
It was an omen, but not a bad one. A great omen of triangular symmetry. One, he was the avenging angel. Two, the scums back in Florida were Satan’s triplets. Three, Thumpet was the sacrificial lamb.
Point, triple-point, point. Hah! Bonus points.
Relieved, he stroked the rosary beads. He hoped Thumpet hadn’t heard the omen. He didn’t think it was possible because it was his omen. But then, they were Thumpet’s rosary beads. That could make a difference.
“An engaging thriller with plenty of humor, good characterization, and a memorable villain …”
— Kirkus Reviews