The suspect, after robbing a bank and holding an elderly female hostage, sprang to my left almost daring me to chase. I could hear the sirens of my partners coming quickly but a voice inside told me to pursue. We leaped over fences like Gazelle and I caught up with him with ease. We began to wrestle on the ground, it’s then that I realized he was a mountain of a man. He clearly had MMA training, as did I, and we took turns trying to pass each other’s guard- looking for an opportunity to end this. He made a move for my sidearm and that’s when the bell in my head said, “Do something now!” When it was over, I pulled myself up from the ground and instantly felt shooting pain in my back, shoulder, and arm. Uh oh.
Okay, okay. It didn’t quite go that way…
I’d like to say I was doing something great when I injured myself at work, but alas, I was not- in fact, it was as ordinary of a Thursday as one might imagine. The Ford Taurus (at least the law enforcement version) is notoriously narrow in the driver’s seat. For a fella like myself with many tools on my belt and perhaps a few extra pounds, it’s EXTREMELY narrow. In fact, most guys I know have to twist and contort their body to get out without hanging up on the steering wheel with their gun or radio or some other piece of equipment. And that is what I did. I contorted and twisted and got out of the car near the end of my twelve hour shift and grimaced after something popped in the upper right part of my back. Fearing the fellas would “clown” me, I continued my shift and went home to pop Motrin and chase it with Makers.
Later that evening, I woke up with tremendous pain, but not just in my back, but my shoulder and elbow felt like a jackhammer was repeatedly hitting my bones and muscle. Oddly, my index finger and thumb on my right hand were also tingly and numb. Like most men, I called myself plenty of unspeakable names and sloughed off to the couch “to sleep it off.” I had hoped whatever it was would go away soon as my mom was coming to town for a visit.
I managed to make it to Saturday morning. The pain made my eyes water and took my breath away at times. I went to urgent care, and although I know the doctor meant well, he managed to make the pain almost unbearable. He shewed me out of his office and like the pill junkies I used to chase, I drove as fast as possible to Walgreens to “get my fix.” Unfortunately, the pharmacist reminded me I couldn’t drive if I took two of the medications. I drove a bit too fast and rather rudely home, ripped open the pill bottles, and took them hoping for a miracle. NOTHING HAPPENED.
Fast forward through six weeks, three doctor visits, three physical therapy sessions, two changes in medications, a pending acupuncture session, and STILL, the same pain in the same spots (and no x-ray or MRI). The only change being that instead of sleeping like a posed murder scene on the couch each night, after four weeks, I finally managed to sleep one night in my own bed. I’ve been going through Kaiser because the injury is work-related and being handled through workman’s comp. I originally bad-mouthed some of the staff to my wife, but honestly, it was the pain, lack of sleep, and my own lack of understanding my injury that was talking. Overall, the people there seem knowledgeable and friendly.
However, the pitfalls of workman’s comp is that THERE IS NO ONE TO TELL YOU WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE. Sure you can ask around and put bits and pieces of the puzzle together, but that’s not enough.
I’ve worked most of my life, beginning in high school. I’m known for being a hard worker and helping others- it’s what I do. So sitting at home has taught me a valuable life lesson: You must be about you, and not about your job. Your job cannot define you completely. You must realize that family and friends, coupled with other interests, must remain your focal point, not the job. I’m not saying my job isn’t important and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your very best every single shift. But, if I don’t ever go back, no one will miss me. The machine will continue to run…and prosper. My employer will actually save money if I’m forced to medically retire. I’ve left no legacy at the office. I’ve built a strong and admirable reputation sure, but some kid coming up through the ranks will meet and eclipse what I’ve already done in a shorter amount of time- making most of what I’ve done obsolete. And, THAT’S OK.
I’m making dinner, even recipes off Pinterest (don’t judge), more these days. I’m reading more, helping more around the house, helping more with the kids, and I actually feel better. Having said that, there’s been moments where I’ve walked the block looking for mischief and my eyes have burned from watching too many shows on television (many of which I had no idea would EVER be on television. I’ve even cracked a few brewskies, helped my buddy with his startup company, and sketched out the outlines of a few more books. This has been an eye-opening event, one that I started out wishing like hell never happened. But now, I’m enjoying the change and looking forward to the future with an open mind.
THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE and the Rule of Worst Thing
By Melodie Campbell
THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN LIFE:
- Men called Raoul are to be avoided.
- Coffee can solve a lot of problems, but it doesn’t help you sleep.
- It is a really bad idea to make financial decisions after finishing an entire bottle of cheap wine. (Okay, even expensive wine.)
- If it sounds like a stupid idea, it probably is.
- Never EVER go easy on your protagonist. In fact, invoke the rule of WORST THING.
My name is Melodie Campbell and I write comedies. I came by this honestly, in an attempt to avoid being serious. Most of my life, I have tried to avoid being serious. (Which is why I was a dismal failure as a bank manager. That’s another blog – yup, a comedy. But I digress…)
So far, it’s worked. THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE is my 5th non-serious book.
But here’s a secret: writing non-serious is serious hard work.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
Comedy writers take a situation, and ask themselves ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen now?’ And then, ‘what’s the funniest?’
In THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE, Gina discovers that her weasel cousin Carmine has switched real gems for fakes while he was babysitting her jewelry store. The lousy rat! Now, some of her best clients are walking around with fake rings on their fingers. Her rep is seriously on the line if anyone finds out. What’s a girl to do?
Mastermind a bunch of burglaries to steal back the fakes, of course. She is the reluctant Goddaughter of the local mob boss, after all.
So let’s invoke the rule of Worst Thing. What’s the worst thing that could happen to Gina when she breaks into houses? She could get caught by the cops. Or shot as an intruder. But that would end the story pretty quick, and we don’t want that.
Also, I don’t want ‘worst thing’ all the time. This is a comedy. We need a balance of pathos and bathos. So what’s the funniest thing that could happen?
All the burglaries could go wrong. That’s our worst thing. And the WAY they go wrong is the comedy.
Houses aren’t empty when they should be. Her accomplice is a manic critic of interior design. Everyone in Steeltown is following the antics of “their very own Pink Panthers” in the local newspaper. The more Gina tries to be invisible, the more they become a sensation!
Worse and worse. Funnier, and hopefully, funnier. And that’s my rule of ‘best thing.’
Melodie Campbell has over 200 publications, and six awards for fiction. She was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer, and both the 2012 and 2013 Arthur Ellis awards. Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
Library Journal says this about The Goddaughter (Orca Books):
“Campbell`s crime caper is just right for Janet Evanovich fans. Wacky family connections and snappy dialogue make it impossible not to laugh.“
THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/kmgjgsf
THE GODDAUGHTER on Amazon http://ow.ly/dnObH
Follow Melodie’s comic blog at www.melodiecampbell.com
Just released! ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD (Land’s End series, book 2)
Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?
“Hot and hilarious!”
“A fantastical tour de force”
“The Princess Bride with Sex”“
Excerpt from ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD, book 2 in the Land’s End fantasy series:
It quickly became apparent that Howard was not a natural horseman. In fact, it was also obvious that Howard was not exactly a guy’s guy, if you know what I mean. I began to wonder if that’s why Richard chose him to accompany me. No competition.
At the same time, I was coming to a conclusion about who was going to keep whom safe. Let me give you a picture.
Hour One into the ride:
“Can we stop now? My backside is sore,” Howard whined.
“Let’s wait until we get to the river,” I said.
Hour Two into the ride:
Moan. “I’ve got to go.”
I pulled up. “Okay, we’ll break here.”
We both swung off our horses. Howard caught his foot in the stirrup and landed on his back.
“Ow, ow!” he cried.
I walked over and extricated his foot.
“Have you ever ridden before, Howard?”
“Once or twice.”
I was beginning to get a very bad feeling.
“Did you volunteer for this job?”
“Yes.” He was now relieving himself off to my right.
“Why?” My voice was perhaps a little harsh.
“To get out of fighting, of course. Everyone says there’s going to be a big battle. It seemed like a good time to leave the castle.”
I rolled my eyes. So now I had a complete newbie horse dude who was also a coward to look after on this trip. Howard the Coward. Lucky me.
“Can we sit for a bit? I’m exhausted.” He plunked down on the grass. Then he sprang up again.
“Ow! Ow! Ow!” He ran around in circles.
“What is it?” I watched in amazement.
“A bee! I sat on a bee.”
Hoo boy. This was going to be a long ride.
“Are you sure it’s a bee?” I said, crossing my arms. “Maybe it was a wasp.”
“Does it matter?” He was jumping up and down.
“Well, if it’s a wasp, you’re okay. If it’s a bee, the stinger will still be stuck in you. So when you sit down again…”
“Ahhh!! Take it out! Get it out!” He lifted his tunic and bent over.
I turned away. “I am so not doing that.”
Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich. She has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and 4 novels. She has won 6 awards for fiction.
Enter for a $50 Amazon gift certificate and 15 book Giveaway! Free! Deadline May 10 www.funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.ca
ROWENA AND THE DARK LORD, book 2 in the Land’s End series, is NOW AVAILABLE at the special introductory price of .99! (regular price $3.99, after May 1.) Buy Link:
And the one that started it all: ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL, book 1 in the Land’s End series