Master – 3.1

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Ch. 2

CHAPTER 3

A muscular trashcan clothed in a pinstriped suit sits across from me. Hair slicked-back, big square glasses, and a fiery glare so intense I swear he wants to kill me.

“You’re scared,” he says, scribbling in his notebook.

The sun shines in through the window, where parked cars, trees, and a graffiti-ed fire hydrant can be seen down below. I’m in a psychiatry office, but I have no memory of driving here.

“Talk about your failure as a football player.”

“What?”

“You were a great college player; one of the greatest ever to play the game. If you would have continued, you could have been a superstar. But you quit.” The psychiatrist pauses, then looks up from his notepad with a flick of his eyes. “Why, did you stop?”

“I don’t recall your name, doctor… what was it again?”

“Master.”

I laugh. “Master? That’s what you want me to call you?”

“Yes.” ‘Master’ pulls a lighter out from his pocket, then flicks the flame on. He lets go of the switch, then does it again. “Why did you give up on your lifelong dream, Mr. Gordon?”

“I don’t see it that way, doc, never have. I was in love, and my daughter Avery was on the way. To be honest with you, professional football isn’t really the right environment to start-”

“Fear.” Master stands up, then walks over to a desk. On top of the desk is a canister of gasoline. He begins to walk in a big circle around the room, carrying the gasoline at his side. “Fear drives us to make desperate decisions. In your case, you quit because you knew it was a matter of time before others discovered the truth.”

“What truth?”

Master pauses, then smiles kindly. “I’m sorry, Mr. Gordon, but I feel it would be rude to leave you wife waiting for a minute longer. Do you mind if she joins us? I know it’s a bit of a surprise, but I can assure you this session will be better spent with her present.”

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  • Thomas M. Watt
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Master – 2.2

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“Why are you laughing?”

“You’re paranoid baby. I swear, sometimes I wonder if I married a schizophrenic.”

She returns to me again, then playfully straightens out my Montreal Expos cap. “You’re Phillip Gordon! You stand a sexy six-foot four, don’t take shit from nobody, and married the hottest Latina this town has ever seen.” She sets her hand on my knee, then slides it up my thigh, closer to my crotch. “You have a beautiful daughter, named Avery. You’re the greatest football player this town has ever known. And you know what? If anyone gives you shit, just dump enough chlorine in their pools to kill off their entire families. And their little poodles.”

I laugh. “Saying things like that could get you in trouble.”

“I don’t give a fuck what people think, baby! Only you.”

Loretta rubs the crotch part of my jeans with the flat of her palm until she finds my dong. Then, in the sexiest voice you could ever imagine, “You like when I do this?”

Loretta forms her hand into a fist and punches me right in the dick.

“Hey!” I say, then shove her away with a single arm. She giggles like a school girl as she returns to her seat, then smiles to herself while staring out the window. I laugh at first, then the ride turns to silence. No music playing, no conversation – just silence.

“Loretta?”

“Ya Baby?”

“I love you.”

She takes my hand and kisses the back of it. “Love you forever, Phillip Gordon.”

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  • Thomas M. Watt

Master – 2.1

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I remove my Montreal Expos cap and take a step forward. I snag a firm grip of his shoulder, then stare straight into his eyes.

“One day, God-willing, you’re going to have a child of your own. And when you do, you’re going to raise that kid and do everything you can to keep him from becoming the person you once were; maybe the person you are now. When that day comes, I want you to look in your child’s eyes, and ask yourself – was it worth having this child? All the sleepless nights, all the extra-payments, all the stress that comes along with caring for a family?”

“Fuck that, I don’t do relationships.”

I smile. “Have a good day, son.” I turn around to face my wife. “Let’s go, babe.”

She frowns, then takes my hand. We leave.

CHAPTER 2

My Dodge pickup sounds like it gurgles cement as we bump along the road. Loretta unbuckles her seat belt, then leans over the center console and wraps both her arms around my right bicep.

“Let it go, baby,” she says, then kisses my shoulder.

“We should move,” I say.

“Why?” Loretta springs back.

“I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t want Avery growing up here.”

“You and I grew up here. We have family here.”

“I don’t want Avery dealing with the same bullshit I do. She shouldn’t have to deal with these questions.”

“What questions?”

“C’mon Loretta, you want me to say it?”

“Say what?”

“The fact that I was an NFL prodigy who quit. Fact that the same people who thought I’d be rich and famous call me when their pool’s got too many leaves floating on top.”

Loretta laughs. She sits back in her own seat, crosses her arms, and stares out her window.

“What?”

She looks at me, rubs the tip of her nose, and turns away.

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Thomas M. Watt

Master – 1.2

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I pull the pen from my pocket, then scribble my name on his Starbucks cup, right under his own.

“Say, Mr. Gordon… Can I ask you something?”

“Go for it.”

“You clean pools now, right? Like for a living?”

I blink slow, then return to him with a smile. “I’ll clean your pool for a fee, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Punk laughs.

“No, no… it’s just, you know you could have been big time, right? If you would have just played one more season, you would have gone top three rounds. I mean, why did you stop playing?”

My wife knows, I know, everybody who knows me knows. The decision I made to end my football career and drop out of college was the hardest decision I ever had to make.

“Sometimes life throws things our way that force us to make tough decisions.”

I still grin when I say it, because the love that fills my life now far surpasses the darkness that overpowered me in my ‘star-power’ days.

“I know,” begins the kid. “But why did she make you leave the game?”

“I left on my own. Ever had sex, kid?”

My wife chuckles behind me.

“I’m not a fuckin’ virgin, dude.”

“Then you already know. Sometimes when you have sex, babies pop out.”

“Why didn’t you make her abort it?”

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-Thomas M. Watt

Master – 1.1

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CHAPTER 1

I sit in the coffee shop waiting on my wife, who insisted on ordering the drinks tonight. She’s over at the barista stand mixing in the half-and-half, and the only thing that concerns me is the punk hovering right next to her. Wish to God he’d stop staring at her like that.

Is what it is – if I got up and did something every time someone looked at Loretta, I’d probably be in jail right now. I’m not a criminal; not even a bad ass. I’m just a pool cleaner.

“Excuse me,” Loretta says to the punk.

He rolls his eyes then takes a step back.

Love is a strange thing. You can go your entire life thinking you know what it is, getting a whiff of it now and again, but until you’ve found the right one you’re never going to know. Then again she was only my second girlfriend, so maybe I’m not one to talk.

Loretta journeys in my direction, and the punk follows behind her. Now I’m uncomfortable.

I rise from my seat. “You need something?”

Loretta looks surprised at first, thinking the question was directed at her. When she turns to find the punk is behind her shoulder, she scurries to our table, then meekly takes the seat behind me.

“Yeah,” says the punk. “Your autograph.”

I turn to my wife. She doesn’t say much; her body language does the speaking for her. A cross of her arms and shrug of her shoulder are enough to give me a clue – give the young man what he wants and send him on his way.

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  • Thomas M. Watt

MASTER – Official Release Date Announced!

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It is finished.

Master will be made available November 20th. I intend to post 1 page per day leading up the release date.

That means it’s time for me to bust my ass and start drawing attention through social media. I plan on keeping you all updated on my progress. Tomorrow morning, at 7 am west coast time, I will post the first page to Master. Stayed tuned, more news to come…

  • Thomas M. Watt

Beta Readers and Master Update – 10/23

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The feedback emails are piling in. I can’t express enough how grateful I am to all those who are assisting me in making Master the best it can be. Some of them are right here on wordpress, but all of them are providing me with tremendous insights I wouldn’t be able to perceive on my own. No man is an island, remember that.

So far, so good. Every reader has been pleased with the book. I’m anxious to gather more opinions about the ending, though I already have a few alterations in mind. A great benefit of using beta readers is they can help sway your mind on certain ‘on the fence’ plot developments. It’s really amazing to hear the various ways they expect events to unfold, and goes to show we each have a distinct interpretation of the same material.

It wasn’t long ago that I first tried beta readers. It was an excruciating process – sending out stories that I was certain were perfected, only to find them returned with more helpings of criticism than my ego could swallow. If you’re nervous to allow someone to read your work for the first time in fear that it will ruin you, let me tell you – it probably will.

But just as muscles grow stronger from tearing, your writing skills will increase with rejection. There are only so many scoffs a person can bear before they either give-up or horde honest advice as though it were the key to survival. Biggest asset in my journey has been countless nonfiction books on writing. It is a rude awakening to discover more goes into fine literature than a God-given dose of inspiration, but you’ve got to be aware of your flaws before you can fix them.

I’m incredibly anxious to finish polishing this book off, but I’m also aware of how necessary it is to do so. I don’t want to write a book that has five sky-high chapters then plummets to the ocean bottom right after you decide to purchase it. If I wanted to be rich, making up stories would appeal about as much as a 2005 penny collection.

Again, I apologize for the trudging of my posts to my followers. I promise if you can wait a little bit it will all be worth it, and the daily stories will soon return. I’m nearly convinced independent publishing is the avenue I will choose to pursue, because I enjoy the process of building anything from scratch. That may sound unusual due to previous posts where I’ve confessed my reluctance to sell anything, but I’ve begun to see Independent publishing more in the form of start-up company. I have no business experience, but marketing a product I believe in seems like a great place to start.

  • Thomas M. Watt