Just have to get this off my chest so it won’t clog the aorta.

Lowe’s will repair the crappy lawn trimmer they sold me not so long ago, but I can’t return it. They won’t refund it for store credit. Nada. Even if it’s fixed, it still sucks so, no thanks. Trash it. I stalk out, annoyed but I’ve learned my lesson: never shop at Lowe’s again. Got it!
 
Resolving to begin anew, off to Home Depot where it’s already Halloween AND snowblower season. Great. (Mental note: Sell more books. Move where there are palm trees ASAP.)
 
Poke around. Look at lawn trimmers cordless, gas and cordful. I want an easy peasy auto-fill bump cartridge this time because the last trimmer from Lowe’s made me consider crying. As I tried to fix the wire cartridge, I considered spewing big hot baby tears for a solid fifteen minutes. A heart attack is the more manly option but in the end I surfed Netflix and sulked.
 

“Onward! Let’s let go of the past and buy a new trimmer!” he said, like an idiot.

No staff in sight in the confusing ordeal of a labyrinth that is Home Depot. I finally find the trimmers. Lots of options. Too many. The vast selection of this array is dizzying and it looks like they don’t have the refill cartridges I might need.

I talk to another customer who has been on the  hunt for a trimmer longer than me. It’s a big debate for him, too. Still no staff to answer two questions (because I really don’t want to buy another shitty trimmer.) Patience starts to fade and we’re losing daylight. The shadows are growing long and deep as tumbleweeds tumble past the Halloween witch display.

Other customer gives up. Via con dios, brother. You are wiser than me. Intrepid and clutching my waning optimism, I go to an info desk and ask for assistance. The woman behind the desk gives me a sneer and puts my request over the speaker. It seemed like such a reasonable request at the time.
 
I return to the trimmer section to await satisfaction. I wait a while. Time passes. I decide it’s been longer than one while. This is at least two or three whiles. Still nothing.
 

Big breath. The customer who abandoned his quest for a trimmer wanders by again, shaking his head with pity. He’ll go home and see his family tonight. Me? I’m determined. Stupid, stupid and determined.

Back to the same desk with the same woman behind the counter. She and another staffer are helping the guy in front of me. By that I mean the other staffer is talking to the guy and she’s watching, kind of like how cows chew the cud while gazing at passing traffic.

I finally catch her eye by jumping up and down. Same polite request for assistance with the goddamn trimmer. I have money. Please help me give it to you! But I don’t say anything mean because…I’m not sure now. I’m kind to waiters and waitresses because I like spit-free food. At Home Depot, I suppose the worst they can do to me is what they’re already doing. 

What infuriates me most is that the cud chewer takes my second request like she’s never seen me before. In fairness, eons have passed since my first request for help. Am I in hardware hell? In which circle of Dante’s Inferno does a sinner turn invisible? Oh, right. The lawn trimmer circle.

I stalk back to the trimmer section. Last week at the mall I thought everyone was staring at me. (I suspect it’s the chain wallet. They’re staring at my chain wallet, right?) But at Home Depot, I can’t get arrested. As I await some helpful staff member in pumpkin orange, I start to think about what I could do at Home Depot to get arrested. The chain saws are, like, right over there, man.

Anyway, no staff even wander by for me to flag down. No one answers the second call from the desk. I consider cutting myself with a snowblower blade but if I change my mind mid-suicide, there surely won’t be any help on the way for jets of hot pumping blood, either.

I look around. Other customers are wandering around, guileless of what I am about to unleash on this store. Rending my clothes, certainly. Tantrums and tears. Vitriol and shouting that sends innocent families scurrying for the exits. Authorities will be called. But they won’t find me. I’m the invisible man in the lawn trimming section of Home Depot. If you ever want to disappear, this is place is the shit.

I look at the trimmers again. If I knew this was all self-serve when I walked in, I’d be home by now. Then it occurs to me that, since my entry, this is all probably outdated lawn care technology. I should wait for the laser lawn trimmer so there’s no fussing with bullshit tangles of nylon string.
 
Time to make like Detroit and give up. Like a good Canadian, I almost put the two trimmers I was considering back on the shelf. Then I decide to have some goddamn dignity and slap myself across the face hard. I don’t need a trimmer this bad. No one needs a lawn trimmer this bad. When I came into this store I didn’t need a shave. Now I need a shave and whiskey.
 
Must I move where there are no lawns?  Failing that, do I dare the gauntlet of Home Hardware tomorrow? I don’t know if I’m up to a third hardware store in two days. I might take hostages. And still, no one will come.

Time travel: a suicidal comedian, a crazed savant and Kurt Vonnegut walk into a bar…

Wallflower (Medium)

Ray Bradley wanted to be a big deal in Hollywood. When that didn’t work out, he resorted to suicide. Now the beautiful music only Ray can hear won’t go away, his wife’s on the way out and trouble’s bubbling behind the walls.

On a strange and hilarious journey, Ray discovers secrets to time travel. The boundaries separating dimensions crumble as a capricious God of Time plays dice with the universe. The fate of the multiverse depends on an ordinary guy, a crazed genius and Kurt Vonnegut.

Wallflower is a thought-provoking and unique time travel story with heart, humanism and twists you’ll love.

For your complementary digital copy of The Haunting Lessons, sign up when the blue box appears.

MANNY KILLS MONSTERS FREE EBOOK In The Haunting Lessons, Tamara Smythe is a girl from Iowa who, amid tragedy, discovers how special she is. To normal people, “special” sure looks like crazy. Naturally, she runs away to New York and into the sharp teeth of destiny, secret armies, blessed blades and monsters invading New York. You’re going to love the Ghosts and Demons Series and Tam’s greatest friend, Manhattan.

The Haunting Lessons is Book One, followed by The End of the World As I Know It and Fierce Lessons. Enjoy the ride and your complementary digital copy of The Haunting Lessons.

I’m building my email list. All I need is your email address so I can let you know about new developments with my series. Be assured, I won’t bother you too often or sell the list to a cult or anything crazy and you can opt out at any time. Thanks! 

My new cover for Intense Violence, Bizarre Themes

Intense Violence, Bizarre Themes is about a young criminal (me) who returns to New York looking for escape and a second chance. You know what? NYC is pretty unforgiving. Ex-girlfriends and angry brothers weren’t pleased about my return, either. The quest for cash and a new life keeps the plot moving fast. Jump in. You’ll love the ride.

INTENSE VIOLENCE BIZARRE THEMES (Small)

Thanks to Kit Foster of KitFosterDesign.com for another great design.

#Free #SF ends tonight: Last chance at grabbing Metal Immortal

Metal Immortal (Small)
Military SF that will make you think of War of the Worlds. You’ll also eye your computer nervously.

Machines Dream of Metal Gods (Medium)

This is an interconnected series, so you can buy the first three novellas and read them as stand-alones. In Book 4, Metal Forever, the survivors of Books 1 – 3 meet to join the epic battle to save the human race. The solutions are always unexpected. Come for the jokes. Stay for the adventure.ROBOTS VERSUS HUMANS (Large) 2

Get your free review copy of The Haunting Lessons

The Haunting Lessons is Book One on the Ghosts & Demons Series.

 

The Haunting Lessons  (Large)

This is an dark urban fantasy about a girl from Iowa who, after a terrible tragedy, learns to fight a demon horde invading our dimension. It’s a bit Buffy with lots of funny banter, wise lessons, secret societies and swords and sorcery. Join the adventure for free. Join the Choir Invisible.


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Elon Musk: Humanity risks ‘summoning a demon’

After a week of illness that kept me on my back, I got out to see Ex Machina. I won’t spoil it for you, but it is a thought-provoking horror movie that will remind you of Skynet becoming self-aware , that Elon Musk quote (above) about the dangerous possibilities of Artificial Intelligence and what monster slavers we could will become when we create convincing sexbots. Musk might not be wrong, but we are also demons. Right now. As you’re reading this.

Mostly, Ex Machina is about how dangerous we are and our place in the continuum of existence. The self-awareness of AI will make you uncomfortably self-conscious of the evil we can do long past the time your popcorn runs out.

I loved the writing. The slow, grim foreboding builds and the villain of the piece is perfect. One thing I really enjoyed was that we got through the entire movie without speaking the word slavery aloud. There are no extra words in the script and it relies on the audience being smart enough to fill in the blanks. That’s kind of rare, isn’t it? Writers are often too deathly afraid of the dough heads in the audience saying, “I don’t get it.”

I also didn’t recognize a single actor. The Hollywood machine pumps out sequels with faces you’ve seen before (and that’s not all bad), but it was refreshing to see something original, intelligent and well…new.

You’ll see Age of Ultron. Make sure you catch Ex Machina, too.

I am almost fully recovered from my illness and I’m looking forward to sending you updates about my next book, a fresh podcast and the latest developments over the next week. Until then, don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter. We’ll talk.

(And, yes, I want to write about AI and cool robots, too!)

Books & Podcasts by suspense writer Robert Chazz Chute