Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Free for Another Day

Because I love you all, I've extended the free promotion for OUTLAWED LOVE by one more day. Until 3am EST or 12am PST tonight, OUTLAWED LOVE will be free for your Kindle. Now, do your part and tell all of your friends.

"This was one heck of a fast paced, suspenseful read!"
Reviews By Molly

"I was not about to put my Kindle down a second afraid I would miss something"
Ohio Girl Talk's

"...the perfect blend of sizzle and thriller. I truly cannot wait to read more by J.M. Krumbine."
Cafe of Dreams

So, you know, Merry Christmas.

Kate Sharpe, US Marshal, is a woman on a mission with no time for love or romance. Her prisoner, the handcuffed hottie, Kyle Archer, just turned State’s evidence on notorious mobster Jonathan Bragan. Kate’s responsible for getting him from the courthouse to the jailhouse, but can she do it without losing her heart?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

To cap off OUTLAWED LOVE's December blog tour, I'm running a special Amazon promotion. For December 25 & 26, OUTLAWED LOVE is free!

So, after you get your brand new Kindle and you've stuffed yourself with Christmas cheer, be sure to download your free copy of the book that people are calling:

"This was one heck of a fast paced, suspenseful read!"
Reviews By Molly

"I was not about to put my Kindle down a second afraid I would miss something"
Ohio Girl Talk's

"...the perfect blend of sizzle and thriller. I truly cannot wait to read more by J.M. Krumbine."
Cafe of Dreams

So, you know, Merry Christmas.

Kate Sharpe, US Marshal, is a woman on a mission with no time for love or romance. Her prisoner, the handcuffed hottie, Kyle Archer, just turned State’s evidence on notorious mobster Jonathan Bragan. Kate’s responsible for getting him from the courthouse to the jailhouse, but can she do it without losing her heart?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Holidays

So, to celebrate Christmas and the launch of the Reapers in Heels series, I wrote a short story.

It’s Christmas Eve in Century City and all Avery Graves wants is magical evening with her wonderful boyfriend. What she gets instead is nightmare before Christmas when the local Scrooge dies and starts haunting the Twin Pines Mall. He’s determined to spread holiday gloom and it’s up to Avery and Brooke Graves, the city’s favorite reapers in heels, to round up this Scrooge of a ghost before it’s too late.

DEAD FOR THE HOLIDAYS is a short story approximately 5,500 words.

Isn't that a cute cover?

Dead for the Holidays is currently free for your Kindle through Sunday 19th. I urge you to download a copy and tell your friends to download a copy. I want this short story to the most downloaded story this weekend!

If you've read One Stiletto in the Grave already and are curious about the continuity of these two stories, it's quite simple: Dead for the Holidays takes place about a year prior to the start of One Stiletto in the Grave. If you haven't read One Stiletto in the Grave yet, then don't worry about it.

So, let's shoot for a Christmas miracle here, folks! One million downloads over the next five days! Let's go!







Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One More Day


Whoops, looks like I spoke too soon. Amazon just discontinued the free promotion. ONE STILETTO IN THE GRAVE is back on the paid list, but still free to Amazon Prime members, of course. Don't let this stop you from buying a copy, though!

So, apparently when I said "December 13th at Midnight, Pacific Standard Time" I meant December 14th at Midnight, Pacific Standard Time? I don't know if it's my goof or Amazon's, but One Stiletto in the Grave is free for one more day! So, you know, get a copy and tell a million friends to do the same.








Friday, December 9, 2011

Best. Deal. EVER.

One Stiletto in the Grave is a Kindle exclusive now.

What does this mean? This means that, normally, if you're a Kindle Prime Member, One Stiletto in The Grave is available to you through the Kindle Lending Library for free.

However, because this exclusive just went through, like, yesterday, I'm going to do one better.

Until Tuesday, December 13th at Midnight, Pacific Standard Time, I'm making One Stiletto in the Grave free for EVERYONE. Here are the links:







If you have a Kindle and you're in the one of the above, it's free for you. Go download it.

This morning I woke up to 134 downloads for One Stiletto in the Grave. It is my fervent prayer and hope that One Stiletto in the Grave gets One Million downloads by Tuesday night. One Million. Hey, it's a free and it's an awesome book, this should be no problem! I'm really enjoying writing this series and I want you guys to enjoy reading it just as much!

So, if you're a fan, please download a copy and then tell all your friends with Kindles, with Kindle Apps or Amazon Accounts to download a copy. If you loved the book leave us a review. Spread the word on your Twitter page or Facebook account. Let's do this!

UPDATE 12/10/2011

We're currently at 1,341 downloads. Only 998,659 to go! And, just so you know, even if all you have is a computer and no Kindle, you can still download a free Kindle App to your computer that will allow you read Kindle books and, more importantly, allow you to download a copy of One Stiletto in the Grave. So get that app!

Friday, December 2, 2011


So here's the deal. I'm rebooting the Grym Brothers.


Is now this:

I know this might seem a little crazy, but bear with me for a moment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Outlawed Love

I'm starting a blog tour for OUTLAWED LOVE next month on the 5th. Here's the full schedule:

Monday, December 5 
Book reviewed at Ashley’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, December 6
Guest blogging at Just Another Book Addict

Wednesday, December 7
Book reviewed at Just Another Book Addict

Thursday, December 8
Guest blogging at Reviews by Molly

Friday, December 9
Book reviewed at Book Nook Club

Monday, December 12
Interviewed at Blogcritics

Tuesday, December 13
Book reviewed at Ohio Girl Talks

Wednesday, December 14
Book reviewed at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, December 15
Book reviewed at Faerotic Prose

Friday, December 16
Book reviewed at Cafe of Dreams

This what people on Apple are saying about OUTLAWED LOVE:

Pretty awesome, right?

And, of course, here's where you can buy the book:

Kate Sharpe, US Marshal, is a woman on a mission with no time for love or romance. Her prisoner, the handcuffed hottie, Kyle Archer, just turned State’s evidence on notorious mobster Jonathan Bragan. Kate’s responsible for getting him from the courthouse to the jailhouse, but can she do it without losing her heart?

PLUS! In a few days I'll be posting the first chapter from the new book starring Kate's brother, Jack: UNDERCOVER LOVERS! Oooooh, exciting, isn't it?

And this isn't even the biggest news of the week from me. Stay tuned for more....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dead City

Here's are two excerpts from the next Grym Brothers book, DEAD CITY. And by excerpts, I mean snippet, really. Raw. Unedited. And probably out of order. Heck, for all I know they may end up on the cutting room floor, too. Anyway, here they are:

Rhodes struggles for a moment, trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy. It's not working. "I've never had the pleasure of meeting a grim reaper." 
"That's a good thing," Mort says. 
"Not even when my wife passed away six years ago," Rhodes finishes. 
"Look, Mr. Rhodes," Thane starts. "We're sorry for your loss." 
"It was, like, six years ago and we just met the guy today," Mort says. "Why are we sorry?"

Where Jackson usually has a mess of files on his desk there’s a large calendar instead. All the paperwork’s been moved off to a pile on the floor. 
The Grym brothers grab the two empty seats. 
“Okay,” Mort says. “What’s with the feng shui?” 
“It’s not feng shui,” Jackson says. 
“Well, I’m not going to lie,” Thane says. “That’s kind of a relief.” 
“Oh yeah?” Jackson says. “Why’s that?” 
Mort points to the pile next to his desk. “Because it makes you look like an even bigger slob.” 
Thane points to his brother. “What he said.” 
Jackson shakes his head. “You two are a piece of work.” He wipes his hands across the large calendar, smoothing it out. “My Captain has been reading Efficiency books.” 
“Efficiency books?” 
“Productivity,” Jackson clarifies. 
“I don’t know what either of those words mean,” Mort says. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things Left Unsaid

Two years ago my father died. It was sudden. There was no warning, no preamble. We never found out the exact cause of death. Quite simply, one minute my father was living and then the next, he was not.

The last time I spoke to him was that previous Sunday. I was trying to get his advice on how to fix a plumbing problem my wife and I had. He called back between performances at the local theater where he was handling the lighting. It was a conversation no different than other conversation's I’ve had with my father. There was nothing special about it, but then, neither of us knew that it was going to be the last time we spoke. Although, I wonder, would it have been any different had we known? My father and I were on good terms. There were no unresolved issues between us. We enjoyed each other’s company, we respected each other’s opinion. We had a good relationship. Honestly, though, my father and I had never had a difficult relationship. Oh sure, when I was a teenager, there was the typical crap that goes on between a parent and a child. But I grew up. I learned how to deal with my father and my father learned how to deal with me.

The last time I saw my father was a few weeks prior to his death. We had gone out to dinner with my wife’s sister, husband and children. My mother and father were there as well. I don’t know what was going on at the rest of the table because I was sitting at the corner with my Dad, as these things usually went. And, I’ll be honest, the majority of our conversation consisted of my Dad giving me a hard time about my creative ventures. My Dad was nitpicking at everything I had ever done, even to the extent of suggesting that all of my novels needed to be rewritten. But it was never an argument. It was a discussion. It was a discussion that annoyed me, true, but it was still a discussion that I got to have with my father.

The Reapers in Heels series is about two sisters who work as grim reapers, hunting down renegade dead souls. It’s series about characters looking for love, trying to make sense of life and doing the dirty work. But there's another part to it. There's a part to a grim reapers job that’s just not about hunting down the renegades, but helping bring closure to the living. Sometimes a dead soul has gone renegade simply because it hasn’t said all it needed to say.

I can’t imagine that there was anything else my Dad needed say. Honestly, I don’t even think there was anything else that I needed to say to my Dad. But there are people out there who aren’t as fortunate to have had a relationship like my father’s and mine. And, for those people, maybe, just maybe, they’ll be lucky enough to get help from the two reapers in heels who are ready to go a little above and beyond their job.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Fright Night

With Halloween right around the corner I thought I'd share this appropriately themed short story.


Brodrick kissed his wife lightly on the cheek. She looked lovingly into his eyes.

"Tonight," Precious said, her voice a throaty whisper, "Tonight is the night. All Hallow's Eve."

Brodrick's smile broke and a puzzled expression replaced it. "I thought it was Halloween?"

Precious' hand shot up the backside of Brodrick's head like a two-by-four. "All Hallow's Eve IS Halloween, you idiot!" she barked.

Brodrick grinned sheepishly, "Oh."

The oversized sleeves of Precious' pink clown outfit fell back as she spread her arms around the glowing Jack-O-Lantern. Yellow light pulsed out of the neatly carved face and cast shadows in the darkened kitchen. She grinned wickedly, "Within this Jack-O-Lantern lies power beyond our wildest dreams!" she paused for a moment and shot a sideways glance at her green-clad husband. Then she said dryly, "Or your's at least."
The cheapshot did not go unnoticed by Brodrick, who rolled his eyes and
said, "Oh my precious..." he faltered as he realized what he was going to say and
recovered with a weak smile, "...Precious-"
Precious cut him off, "Oh, shut up!"
The doorbell rang. Precious quickly grabbed a towel and threw it over the glowing pumpkin. She raced to the front of the house and opened door to find a devil-child, a pirate, and a four foot tall "Barrack Obama," standing on her front porch.
"Trick or Treat!" They shouted in unison as they lifted their bags expectantly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spooktakular Sale!

So, until Halloween these two books are going to only be $0.99. They're great Halloween reads and the start of two excellent series. Grab a copy of each and tell all of your friends!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Five Reasons Why It’s Great to Be a Grim Reaper on Halloween

Hey, it’s October, which means it’s a month-long build up to Halloween! Let’s get our spook on!

“5 Reasons Why It’s Great to Be a Grim Reaper on Halloween”

Ready Made Costume

Okay, yeah, it might your work outfit. It’s kind of like a businessman dressing up as himself in a suit and tie, but, come on. A scraggly hooded robe and a scythe? That is an awesome costume. Plus, you can skip showering for the day and no one’s going to complain because you’re the Grim Reaper, you should smell like death warmed over.

What’s Creepier Than Death?

Answer: Nothing. Witches? Nope. Gremlins. Not even close. The undead? Please. Vampires? I laugh at vampires.

You are Death. Boom. Nothing beats that. Not even dressing up as the Olsen Twins. Plus, if you want to be extra creepy, you can bring one of your dead souls with you when you hit up the party scene. It’ll be a scream.

No Need to Say Trick or Treat

Because, really, who’s going to make the Grim Reaper beg for their candy?

It’s the Only Time of Year You’re In Style

Sometimes it feels like death is never cool or it’s always coming at an inopportune time. But on Halloween? Everyone else is dressed to the nines at witches, goblins and zombies. Death can stroll down Main Ave and look positively normal.

You Feel Like a Celebrity

Dude, you’re a Grim Reaper. When do you not feel like a celebrity?

Today’s post was sponsored by:

People die every day. 

But not all of the souls can or want to move onto the afterlife.

That’s where the brothers Thane and Mort Grym come in.

Thane and Mort are bounty hunters for dead souls. They inherited the job from their father and they’re two of the best in town.

But when there’s a double homicide at the Kirkland Motel the Grym brothers end up with more than they bargained for. In a world without vampires, zombies or the undead, one of their bounties might not be as dead as he’s supposed to be.

Get it at all these fine establishments:
Kindle US

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Free Book

Hey, everybody, I got a free book!

It's currently available for free from:

iBooks, perfect if you have iDevice(iPad, iPhone, iPod)

Smashwords, perfect if you have any ereader, period. OUTLAWED LOVE is available in every ereader format through Smashwords, including Kindle.

Amazon UK, perfect for if you're one of my fabulous UK fans.

iBooks readers are saying:

"Omg I love this book best love story ever wish there was a second book I recommend this for all teens"

"I loved the suspends and the characters.....the story plot was good and well writen.... i wish the ending was longer but it was great :) fantastic book... i truly recommend it <3"

Alas, it's not currently available for free through Amazon US, but if/when that changes, you'll be the first to know!

It'll be free for probably another week or so. Grab a copy. Tell your friends! Have your friends tell their friends!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Good News


So, towards the end of June my wife and I were reviewing our finances and it looked like I was going to have to get a job outside the home. We’d been living off of her salary for the last two years while I worked on my creative endeavors and we had gone just about as long as we could without me having a “real” job. We were bummed out, to say the least. My wife and I really enjoying spending time together. She’s never been upset or resentful of the fact that she was the only one pulling in a regular paycheck for the last two years. As far as she was concerned all that meant was she got to spend every day with me(Her job allows her to work from home). And I certainly pulled my weight around the house. I helped with the cooking, cleaning and errands. I mean, I wasn’t a total bum. The thought of having to spend eight hours or more everyday apart from each other, after the last two years, was just very depressing.

So we did what we’ve done everyday since the day we got married and prayed that my books would take off. We sold, on average, about 50-100 books a month. But the bulk of those books were priced at $0.99, of which we only kept $0.35 as profit. You can do the math.

My brother-in-law is fond of the saying, “Go big or go home.” Well, I’ve amended to “Pray big or go home.” I mean, what have you got to lose? So we prayed pretty big. We were looking for 15,000 to 50,000 sales a month and that’s what we were praying for.

In June we did experiment with making some of our books free and that did give us a boost in sales. Unfortunately, with all of those free books out there we got hit with a lot of negative reviews, which didn’t do much to help our mood.

So I started applying for work and we kept praying. 15,000-50,000 sales.

In July I started raising some of our prices to take advantage of a higher royalty rate. At $2.99 we would make $2 off of every book sold. Our sales continued to be kind of “meh.”

Nobody was calling me back on any of my applications. I think out of twenty-some applications I got two interviews. So we got a little more depressed. Not only did we not want me to have to get an outside job, but nobody even wanted to hire me!

Then at the end of July I added up our numbers. We ended up selling 713 books for the month. That was huge for us. Yes, it was a far cry from 15,000 or 50,000, but it was a lot better than 50. Plus, enough of those 713 books were being sold at $2.99 that we actually made some decent money for the month. Topped off with the nice, healthy bonus my wife got from her job, we were looking at a month reprieve of me having to find a job. Despite the negative reviews some of my books were getting, we were starting to feel a little better.

So we kept praying. 15,000-50,000 monthly sales, that’s what we were praying for day in and day out.

The month of August came and went and still no one wanted to hire me.

On August 31, 2011, I tallied up our numbers for the month. Turns out we sold a little over 1,300 books for the month of August 2011.

1,300 books.

Again, a far cry from 15,000 or 50,000, but two months ago I was only selling 50 books a month.

You could ask me what was different about August from any other month and I’d just shrug. You might able to point to the freebies we offered or a few keywords we added in our listings and say that was the reason our sales picked up. But I can tell you I have put very little effort into my marketing my books. Not because I’m lazy, but because I don’t know how. Marketing and selling are skill sets I just don’t have. As far as my wife and I are concerned, the only reason we sell any books at all is because of God. I’ve put my marketing and promotional planning in His hands and it’s working out.
Not only are these 1,300 book sales going to help us pay off one of our last major debts but it’s also going to help pay for organizing a blog tour later this year. The blog tour will help raise my Internet presence and help people become more aware of my books.

But even more importantly, those 1,300 book sales have allowed me to stay home with my wife. I don’t have to go looking for a job outside our home.

It may not be the 15,000 or 50,000 we were praying for, but it was exactly what we needed.

God answered our prayers and, honestly, that was the “Wow” part. You know He’s listening, but it’s nice to know He’s listening.

So, to celebrate our success I’ve released a new book! The third Grym Brothers book is now available on the Kindle and Nook! If you’ve enjoyed the first two Grym books, you’ll love this one. Thanks for supporting us!

They say dead men tell no tales, but that’s just because they’ve never worked as a Grim Reaper.

Grim Reapers are real. They are governed by the Council of Reapers. Reapers are responsible for the capture and containment of dead souls that refuse to or cannot move on to the afterlife.

Lori Standford’s mother died six months ago. Now she’s back, haunting Lori out of her home. Lori turns to her close friend, Emma Grym, mother of Thane and Mort Grym, for help.

Now Thane and Mort find themselves embroiled in a mystery of dead men that stretches all the way to the top.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

OSW - Go, Go Captain America!

My review of Captain and updates on all my current book projects.

Listen below or subscribe through iTunes.

Questions, comments, thoughts, suggestions: You can get a hold of me at
the following:


Twitter: @jasonkrumbine



Monday, June 27, 2011

OSW - Speeding

Jason watched the Speed films the other night and he has some thoughts he'd 
like to share with you about them.

Listen below or click on the link to your right and subscribe through iTunes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New OSW - Green Lantern Reviewed

Jason reviews the new Green Lantern movie and talks about the rollercoaster some of his books were on this past week.

The books Jason talks about this episode are JUST DIAL 911 FOR ASSISTANCE and FRUITBASKET FROM HELL.

As usual you can reach Jason at:





Listen to it here or click on the link to your right and subscribe via iTunes.

Monday, June 20, 2011


This past weekend Fruitbasket from Hell and Just Dial 911 for Assistance went free over at the Amazon Kindle Store! In a little over 48 hours we've had 25,000 downloads! Praise God!

Go get your free copies and tell all your friends!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Relaunching the Quitter

New podcast episode! Listen to it below or download it directly from iTunes. Check the link to the right.

This episode:

Jason talks about DC Comics Reboot/Relaunch/Renumbering that's going to occur in September and about superhero marriages. Jason also checks back in with Jon Acuff's book, Quitter.

Settle in, 'cause it's a long one!

Friday, June 10, 2011

X-Men First Class

This episode:

Jason's seen X-Men First Class and he really wants to talk about it!

Listen to it below or download from iTunes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


The One Stray Word Podcast is officially back, officially. And episode one is here now! Get it for your iDevice or  download it for a generic brand mp3 device or just listen to it right below:

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Book

So, yeah, ignore that word counter off to the side because THE DEAD COUPLE is officially available!

Jack and Cindy were a happily married couple. She was an elementary school teacher. He was an aspiring children’s book author. They had the perfect life together, until the day they decided to kill themselves.

Suicides, by their very nature, tend to head directly into the afterlife.

Jack and Cindy’s souls never arrived.

Grim Reapers are real. They are governed by the Council of Reapers. Reapers are responsible for the capture and containment of dead souls that refuse to or cannot move on to the afterlife.

Thane and Mort Grym are two such reapers.

It's only $0.99 and you can get it at:

Nook links coming later in the week.

Isn't this exciting? Three books in two months. I think it's safe to say that I am officially on a roll.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Trailers

So, I'm trying something new here, BOOK TRAILERS! What do you think?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Two and a Half Dead Men - Chapter One


“What the hell?” the guy on the floor says, appropriately freaking out.

“I’m Thane,” the shorter man with the lighter, closely cropped hair says. He points to the guy standing next to him. “This is my brother Mort. Our last name is Grym. It’s funny, you won’t get it right away, but you will in a minute.”

“And you’re dead,” Mort points to the man on the floor impatiently.

Thane shakes his head. “Geez, Mort.”

Mort’s the younger of the two. He stands about two inches taller. He keeps his dark hair long and unruly, slicked back with oil and grease. He’s dressed in a pair of ratty jeans and a stained t-shirt. The brown overcoat that looks like it had been to Hell and back originally belonged to their father, with whom he shares the same dark brown eyes.

“What?” He holds up his wrist to show Thane the watch. “Do you see what time it is?”

Thane looks at the face of the watch and then at Mort. “Yeah. It’s a quarter past three.”

Mort’s face scrunches up. He checks the watch himself, tapping the faceplate with his other hand. He looks out the window as though to confirm it. It’s dark out and the moon is starting to rise.

“That’s not right,” he says.

“I know,” Thane replies. He stands straight, compared to his brother’s slouched posture. His clothes are clean and his jacket is stain free. He’s got his mother’s light blue eyes. “That watch hasn’t been able to tell the correct time ever since you got it.”

“It was Dad’s watch,” he says, like that was supposed to kill the argument.

“Which explains why he was always late.”

“Whatever,” he runs a hand through his dirty hair. “There’s a fight on in an hour. I don’t know want to miss it.”

“Of course,” Thane mutters.

“What?” Mort asks.

“Nothing,” Thane says aloud.

“Excuse me, but what the hell?” the guy on the floor asks again.

The brothers give the man on the floor their attention.

“You’re dead,” Mort repeats. “D-E-A-D,” and he tears off a bite from his foot long sandwich he had insisted on bringing up with him.

“Are you threatening me?” the guy on the floor asks.

“We’re not threatening you,” Thane says, trying to calm him down. “Do you have to eat that right now,” he asks Mort, pulling out the crumpled paperwork from his jacket pocket. “It doesn’t lend itself to a professional image.”

“Yes, Thane, I have to eat it right now,” he says between bites. “You never want to stop for dinner.”

“We eat when we’re not working,” Thane crouches down next to the guy on the floor. “Hi,” he says to him.

“Easy for you to say,” Mort says. “You weren’t blessed with Mom’s low blood sugar. Do you know when my last meal was?”


“Neither do I,” Mort says. “That’s how much I had to drink last night. So forgive me for trying not to die of starvation.”

Thane rolls his eyes and checks the name on the paperwork. “Paulie?” he says to the man on the floor. “That’s your name, right? Paulie?”

The man’s eyes twitch back and forth between the two brothers. He’s confused and probably more than a little freaked out. His face glistens with sweat.

Mort sneezes and Paulie jumps a little.

Thane gently smacks Paulie’s cheek. “Hey, Paulie, I need you to focus.”

He looks back at Thane but his eyes are still glazed over.

“Your name’s Paulie, right?” Thane tries one more time. He likes to be sure.

He blinks, shaking his head. “Yeah. Yeah, I think,” he trails off. “What happened? I’m dead?”

“Yeah. You got yourself shot at point blank range with a double barrel shotgun,” Mort chimes in helpfully.

“Boom. Instant death,” he pretends his sandwich is a gun and mimes shooting with it

“For crying out loud,” Thane mutters again. “Do you mind?”

“Yes, I mind,” Mort says. “There’s a fight on in an hour. I don’t want to miss it. I promise to coddle the next one.”

“You’ll be lucky if I bring you along on the next one,” he says under his breath.


“Just stand there,” Thane says aloud. “Just stand there and eat your stupid sandwich.”


The older brother shakes his head and turns back to Paulie “Do you remember what happened?”

Paulie’s face scrunches up. He’s clearly thinking real hard, but it’s not something he’s used to. His face almost looks like it’s mimicking someone else.

“I, uh,” he stutters and trails off.

“It’s okay,” Thane says. “Most people who suffer this kind of trauma tend to have temporary amnesia.”

“You’re saying I’m dead?” he asks again.

“Buddy,” Mort cuts in again, “you’ve got your legs violently separated from the rest of your body. I can see parts of your entrails on the fireplace. It is not possible for you to get anydeader.”

Paulie’s eyes go wide and suddenly he seems to be aware of his surroundings.

It’s a middle-class suburban home, about six blocks from the A-Line. They’re in the living room and it’s in shambles. There was a fight with a clear winner and loser. And, sure enough, Paulie’s upper half is separated from his lower half.

And his entrails were definitely on the fireplace.

“What the-” Paulie broke down into a stream of obscenities as he twisted his neck around, trying to take it all in at once.

Thane lets him go on for a few seconds before clamping his hand down over Paulie’s mouth. He immediately regrets it. It’s like touching a thousand tiny ants all moving around together at the same time. He hates touching dead people.

Thane looks back at his brother. “Thank you.”

He tosses Thane the cuffs. “No problem. Can we please get going now?”

Thane catches the cuffs with his other hand. Paulie eyes them and they’re not making him any calmer.
Thane keeps his hand securely over his mouth. The tiny invisible ants squirm around, like they’re trying to burrow themselves into Thane’s hand.

“Okay, this isn’t what it looks like,” Thane tries one more time. “We aren’t who you think we are. And these,” he shakes the cuffs, “aren’t normal handcuffs,” he twists them around so Paulie could see his name, PAULIE, etched into the metal. “I would like to explain everything to you in a calm manner, but I can’t do that if you’re going to freak out and swear like a some diseased ridden prostitute that just got gypped out of her share by her pimp. So, do you promise to calm down?”

Paulie hesitates a moment but nods his head.

“Good, I’m going to remove my hand now,” Thane pulls his hand back and immediately feels better. He fights the urge to wipe it against his pants. Paulie keeps silent. “So, here’s what happened, Paulie. This place belongs to Steven Waldo. Mr. Waldo walked in on you trying to steal his priceless collection of porcelain Indian clowns. He subsequently shot you in self-defense.”

Paulie’s brow furrows. “I was stealing from this guy?” he asks.


He thinks about it. “I don’t carry a gun? I don’t carry a gun,” he repeats it more definitively.

Thane checks the paperwork again. “No, you didn’t have any weapons on you.”

“Then how the hell does that count as self-defense?” he snaps.

“Dude,” Mort says, “totally raw deal. But you did try to steal from the guy.”

He blew off my damn legs with a double barrel shotgun!” Paulie shrieks.

“I think it’s coming back to him,” Mort looks at his brother.

“Look, Paulie,” Thane starts, but Paulie has other ideas.

He starts shrieking and flopping around on the floor like a half eaten merman. One of his hands smacks Thane’s face.

Thane looks at Mort. He shrugs. “Not my fault. You’re the one that wanted to talk to him.”

Mort steps forward and sets a foot on Paulie’s chest, holding him in place. That stops him from bucking around, but he’s still shrieking. Thane clamps his hand back down over his mouth.

“Look, Paulie, we’re not unsympathetic to your plight,” Thane starts.

“I am,” Mort interrupts. “I have a fight I don’t want to miss.”

“As I was saying,” Thane resumes, “Your death was particularly traumatic and incapacitating. Even though you have no real physical body to speak of, subconsciously you’ve amended your soul body to match your physical body. Which means you have no legs to carry you to the afterlife. And that’s why we’re here,” Thane pulls out the dull brass badge from his pocket. “We’re dead soul collectors. Grim reapers for souls who can’t or won’t find their way to the afterlife. We’re here to escort you to the afterlife, but before we do that, I just want to give you the opportunity to share with us any good-byes you wanted to make or see if there are any unresolved issues that we could help you with before we send you on your way.”

“He keeps saying ‘we’,” Mort says with a full mouth, “But it’s all him. I have a fight to catch.”

Paulie seems to have calmed down again so Thane removes his hand.

“Unresolved issues?” he says. “I’ll give you unresolved issues. I’m dead over some stupid Indian clowns!” he shouts and his face turns bright red.

“Okay then,” Thane says. “Right to the afterlife.”

And then he slaps the cuffs on him.

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