East-City Noir (2)

An updated excerpt from a new project.There are no edits, so don’t mind the typos.The narrator viewpoint has changed, but the story continues:

The alarm wasn’t any quieter today. Big Ben clanged its harsh clarion call, as it did most mornings. I turned on my mattress and reached with a well-practiced move; grabbing the clock and tossing it across the room. It clattered along the floorboards, but the bell rang on. “Dam Westclox,” I mutter to myself. Now I’m forced to get up, just to turn the fucking thing off. Its radioactive glow has faded from when I went to sleep, but there was still enough illumination to see the time of morning. It was 7 am. Big Ben didn’t care that it was New Year’s Day. 1980. 

It was the beginning of a new decade, and the end of the 1970’s. “Well thank God for that” I think as I sit up in bed, leaning my feet over to the bedside carpet. Dam. I was tired. But duty called. Even today. Lack of sleep or not. Not that I had been revelling in the NYE festivities at the Holiday Inn on George Street. Or anywhere else for that matter. Nope. I was kept busy driving around the city all evening delivering pies and lasagna’s for Big John’s Pizza. I only glimpsed any celebrations through the doorways of apartments and townhouses scattered across town. I’d made good money from tips.Those were welcome. But the invitation to a swinger’s orgy at an old Victorian mansion? That was kindly rejected. 

“Typical Peterborough” I say, to no one in particular. Not even the chair. Those swingers were just some desperate ex-hippies trying to experience living through dope and free love. Right here in the backwards conservative bastion of Ontario. With a new anti-politician on the rise. Bill Dom. He was opposed to metric system conversion, bilingualism, and abortion. The one thing he could support was the reintroduction of the death penalty. Meanwhile, a slow rot had already settled in here amongst the once powerful industrial base that made this city. Some leadership. 

But the time to ponder the state of local politics would have to wait. I have other careers besides pizza delivery. I had dogs to walk. Every morning and afternoon. About 6 of them. The mutts of professors from Trent University. Mostly from the same area of north end Peterborough. Right now, there was only one that I have been walking the last couple weeks: Max. While most academics were at home for the holidays, the Bauman’s had flown off to Frankfurt for three weeks to see family in the old country: Germany. So, Max had needed a home for a while. And I’d just the space for him. 

It was down the adjoining short hallway that led to a small office overlooking Hunter Street. I got up and wrapped myself in my old, mustard-coloured terrycloth robe. Putting slippers on my feet, I grab the keys and open the front door. At the end of the hallway, I stop at the opaque glass- topped office door. The lettering stencilled on it reads: Peacock Investigations Inc. That’s my last name: Peacock. First name John. Snooping around for money? That’s the third career of mine. Hopefully it takes off some day. 

 So far, my jobs here have been limited to tracking cheating husbands and tax frauds. Not the most exciting of endeavours I’ll admit, but it did fill a niche in this town. I had no competitors for the meagre trade that dribbled in. I dreamed of finding something meaty to investigate. That would make a splash in town. Then all the doubters would eat a slice or two of fresh humble pie. My family included. I was supposed to just shuffle on down to one of the factories for employment. Or go off to a university. All my friends from school were either long gone from Peterborough or working at some plant or other toiling away and starting families. But not me. 

I was a correspondence-course educated Sam Spade, but no dummy. I’d spent many hours at the public library in town and Trent University’s equivalent. Reading about crime, psychology, anatomy and all kinds of other subjects that may be of use. I even had a buddy Castellano who worked in the bowels of Civic Hospital. He would sneak me in sometimes to look at stiffs in the morgue. Although I’d never seen one outside of there. Other than at Duffus Funeral Parlour, lying mannequin-like in a coffin. 

Having finished fiddling with the keys, I open the door. A small dachshund looks up from a sleeping mat on the floor and wags his tail. This would be Max. I brandish the leash toward the pooch.  

“Ready to take care of some business Max. And for some breakfast?”  

 Max’s ears perk up and he trots out from under the opening in the Steelcase desk. The desk is sparsely furnished. A large blotter lays in the centre, an old Underwood typewriter on top. A penholder, rolodex, file tray, black telephone, and ceramic ashtray were laid out neatly there as well. An old wooden swivel office chair sits behind, and two leather chairs for customers are placed at the front. One back corner of the office held a large steel filing cabinet with a metal fan atop it. The cabinet housed not only my files, but also various equipment including walkie talkies, microphones, a super 8 camera and projector, plus binoculars. The other corner had a waste basket. On the wall were various framed photos, and some course certificates for different things: Private Investigation, Security, Martial Arts, etc. An old Telefunken radio was on a side table beside some sporting trophies and a baseball mitt and ball. The place was spotless. 

I ran my empire from here. If you could call it that. I’d split off my apartment phone line, and carefully concealed a long run down here to the office. Bell Canada hadn’t figured it out yet, thankfully. I bend down and attach the leash to Max’s collar and usher him out the door and down the adjacent hallway. It led to the side of the building, and the wrought iron fire-escape. Below was a small strip of parking spaces where my trusty K-Car was sitting beside an old Mustang.  

Standing at the top now, I get an immediate assault on my olfactory glands. I quickly light a cigarette to mask the smell. The exhaust vent for the kitchen at East City Lunch is directly below, and the aromas of rancid oil, fried onions, and bacon from the fryer are hanging statically in the frozen, still air. The smell of the nearby Quaker Oats factory is also thick in the atmosphere. It’s just over the Hunter Street bridge, but those scents are of roasted grains and malt. Not so bad, really.  

East City Lunch must be one of the few places open on New Years Day. They’ll make good money from the red eye crowd on the way home. And in a few hours the hangover types would be eating there. It may be a new year, but old habits persist. 

I let Max lead me down the two sets of steps, to the ground. With the snow piled up here and there, and my unfortunate choice of attire, I’m not letting him wander too far. Just enough distance to do his business. The second of which is always an amazement. How can that much shit come out of such a small animal? But out it drops. Max turns with the self-satisfied expression of a satisfactory outing. 

“Good boy Max, but let’s go back up for breakfast, we can walk later, ok?” 

I’m not sure Max understands, but he beats a path back upstairs to the warmth of the building. I butt my cigarette at the top step and look down at the still steaming turd. I promise myself I’ll will clean it up when I come back down. It may be wishful thinking, but the intention is there at least. 

I walk Max back to the apartment, and let him in. He already knows where the food bowl will appear, after two weeks here. Dogs learn fast when eating is involved. I open a can of some special dog food. Must be from a veterinary office. Science Diet. That’s what it is called. It doesn’t sound very appetizing, but Max loves the stuff.  

It must cost a pretty penny, but my clients can afford it. And lots of other stuff. From the looks of the rings and fur coats Helga wears. Not to mention the Mercedes sedan she tools around town in. She lives in a big spread out in the Weller Street area of Peterborough. Her husband Klaus is some bigwig at National Electric.  

That’s the plant that takes up a huge chunk of the flat heart of the city. A four-square block of industrial behemoth, where ten percent of the population works. It was surrounded by blocks and blocks of houses dating from the 1920’s-60’s. Mostly housing workers and their families, the former of which would walk every morning to the factory, lunchboxes and hangovers in hand. 

My grandparents lived right smack dab in the middle of Albert Street that ran for a long city block. One side of the street was lined with dozens of 2-3 story red brick houses. The factory ran down the entire side opposite. So, the view from the front porch or windows of the houses was of a 4-story high factory wall as far as you could see left or right. That, as well as the rusted barbed wire fence. The aroma of Grandma’s home-cooking had to compete with the overwhelming smell of electrical wiring. That burnt, acrid scent was everywhere in the neighbourhood. And God only knows what else you’d breathe in. Especially if you worked inside the plant. 

I’d heard stories about the shit that went on in there from my old man. Of giant rolls of asbestos and workers cutting it. They wore no masks or gloves for protection. Other stories were of guys elbow deep in transformer oil every day. The oil was full of PCB’s. In the old days they’d dump the excess oil straight into the Trent River. I never did ask if it was upstream, or downstream of the city. National Electric. It was a nasty place, but it ran the city, pretty much. Its industrial neighbours, Outboard Marine Corp and Quaker Oats held some influence of their own. This is an “industrial town.” And any new college campus or university buildings weren’t going to change that for the majority living here. They were focused on work, children, hockey, church, and drinking. Although, not necessarily in that order. 

While Max ate, I figured on doing the same. I put some bread in the toaster oven and rustled up some Kraft peanut butter. I even found some margarine and strawberry jam in the back recesses of the Frigidaire. With my toast spread out on a plate and a glass of orange juice, I dined and leafed through yesterday’s Peterborough Examiner. It was the usual collection of local politics, arrests, obituaries, hockey news and cartoons. But it was always worth a scan for tips on possible jobs, and to check that my classified ad was printed. 

 Sure enough, it was there. “PPI Inc. Experienced Private Investigation for personal and financial concerns. Discretion Assured. Call 745-6614.” it read. There was a small icon on a magnifying glass inserted in the ad for emphasis. I’d been running the ad in the Saturday paper for about two years now. It figured that more people read the weekend edition, and so far, I’d had a steady stream of work. Or more accurately it would be described as a drip. At least lately. The extra dough from looking after Max had come at just the right time. That and the holiday rush from the pizzeria.   

Thinking of the pizzeria reminded me to check out the inside compartment of my jacket that was slung over a kitchen chair. I pull out the fabric pencil case, and pushing my plate aside, open the case. I dump out a wad of bills and coins from the last two nights of deliveries onto the tablecloth. Max wakes up from a post-meal snooze as the coins clatter on the scratched tabletop, but soon his eyes droop back shut. I count the takings for the evenings, and it is just short of 200 dollars. Not bad, some under the table earnings. The official wage Big John paid me was only a little more than what it to fill up the gas tank. Well, that could be an exaggeration, but I did mainly work there for tips. That and some free meals. But there is only so much free pizza and pasta you can eat. That’s if you want to keep some sort of physique. 

I was a tallish man, a bit barrel chested. Athletic in my school years, a tight-end for my high-school football team: The Kenner Rams. Kenner was one of the late 50’s-early 60’s schools that were built as the baby boom explosion of children entered the education system. Kenner sat near the end on Monaghan Road and the boundary of the south end of town. The kids of working-class parents went here, and I was one of the thousand or so that trudged off for the long walk back and forth each weekday.  

That was in the late sixties, early seventies. The hippie and greaser era. But those scenes weren’t for everyone. Especially me. Following fashion wasn’t in my repertoire, but keeping fit and trim were. I’d weight-train, cycle, and did some martial arts training. Besides the football, and baseball. These days I mostly just hit the YMCA on George Street a few times a week and do some weights and played pick-up baseball in the summer. Not that any of those sports mattered much here in Peterborough. This was an ice hockey city to the core. The local Junior A team was the Peterborough Petes, and their teenage players were the Young Gods of this town. Even more so if they were drafted into the NHL. Then they’d get the keys to the city. If you won the Nobel Prize in physics and lived here, you’d not get such attention. That was a fact.  

I got up now from the kitchen table and figured it was time for the three S’s: Shit, Shower and Shave. Afterwards, having dressed myself in a t-shirt and jeans, I pull out my West-German army jacket. There were a plethora of these fatigue-green coats around. I’d picked this one up at B & B Army Surplus on Water Street. The pockets sure came in handy. I threw on a down ski vest over top and grabbed the leash. Max perked up at once, knowing it was walking time. 

And it was. But only as far as East City Diner. For now. I tie Max up to a parking meter and pop into the restaurant; going straight to the cash register and pull out a five-dollar bill. I place it on the counter and catch the eye of Tamara. She’d been a couple grades behind me at school and was now helping her family run this diner. Kind of a waste. She was smart, and a real beauty. And here she was serving eggs and bacon to hungover customers on New Years Day. Some life. But was mine any better? 

 “Just need a coffee to go kiddo. I can get my own, you look like you’re run off your feet.” 

Tamara gave me a quick nod. 

 “That would be great J.P.” 

I brandish the money as I walk over to the coffee urn and place the bill on the counter there. Soon enough I am back outside with a steaming cup of java, black. I’d likely get groused out next time by Tamara, for leaving that much money. But hey, she deserved a large tip for dealing with that crowd of customers today. Possibly, a fate worse than death. 

Settling back into the car, I hit the ignition and by some small miracle the beast starts up once again. I give myself the sign of the cross in thanks. I’m not much of a religious man but driving a Chrysler K-Car. I figured that any help I could procure to keep it on the road was worth having. Even from God.  

Chrysler was saved from bankruptcy by a government bail-out and the subsequent production of a bunch of cheap, boxy sedans. I’d inherited this model from my parents when they traded up to a Ford. Or traded over, perhaps. But the engine was purring now, and the heater was kicking in. Reaching over, I start searching for something interesting on the car radio. It was a tough slog, and a common issue in town. Peterborough was in a valley surrounded by large hills. Meaning reception was a limited. Eventually, I settled on CHUM-AM from Toronto. They were playing their annual top 200 songs countdown. Which would likely end up with Stairway to Heaven or Hotel California as the winner. The usual suspects. A real non-event. But they had Nick Lowe spinning Cruel to be Kind at the moment. All was not lost. 

I turn right on Hunter Street and head up the hill past St Joseph’s Hospital. Further up, there was the large Westclox plant. The maker of my dreaded alarm clock. The clock that wouldn’t quit. They had been pumping out thousands of Big Bens here since the 1920’s.  

This was East City. The other side of the river. The Hunter Street bridge was built in 1919, linking the eastern and western parts of town. The span was considered an engineering marvel at the time. The longest single span concrete bridge in the world. It allowed for the industrialization of East City. But that was pretty much limited to Westclox , a subsidiary of the American giant.  

Luckily, they had stopped using Radium for the luminous dials, but not until the 1960’s. Who knows what effect it had on the workers, or where the waste ended up. They may have just followed the National Electric pattern and just dumped it somewhere local. Someday it would all come out in the wash, I was sure of that. But it didn’t pay to think too much or be too smart in this town. Best to stay under the radar in my case. I had a career to take care of after all. 

Currently, that career consisted of taking a dachshund for a walk. So, making a hard left at the top of the incline we drive along a winding road past the local history museum, and on to the large parking lot atop the plateau. This was Armour Hill. One of the large drumlins that mostly surrounded the city. From here you could almost see the entire city, plus farmland, forests and the Trent Canal. It’s a good place to let Max wander and for me to clear my mind. 

 I was a bit blue this morning, it being the start of a new decade and me leading a solitary existence the last couple years. Since Donna and I had split up. She’d gone off to McGill to study English and History. Then there was teachers’ college and a job off in Guelph. She’d asked me to move, and I probably should have. What was keeping me here anyways? I was alone here with my thoughts, while Max scurried about in excitement, oblivious to my mood. His thoughts were of the here and now. 

Armour Hill. It’s known as the local make-out and party spot in town. Evidence of a busy New Years Eve is scattered all round the empty lot. Overflowing garbage bins, and bottles and cans were scattered about. Likely, there were some used condoms lying around here and there. But that was one investigation I wasn’t about to embark on. It was time to head over to Lansdowne Street for a real coffee, then to pop in on an old pal.  

I’d spent the last couple of January 1sts with Davidson at the Examiner. He is stuck as the solitary person in the newsroom overnight and into this morning. Until after noon anyways. He did the overnight 12-12 shift on holidays. “Gotta pay your dues” he’d say. That was one way to look at it. Later in the day, I was visiting the folks for dinner. Eating would be fine, but the lecture about what I was doing with my life would have to be endured. Oh well, nothing new to see there. 

I whistle for Max, and over he comes. There was a bitter wind creeping up here, and from the looks of the dark grey clouds moving in snow might be headed our way. With Max onboard, I head back to Hunter Street, and continue along the top of the hill before descending the steep slope leading to the Lift-Locks. This was the largest boatlift in the world. Still. Built in 1900, it was a feat of engineering. A source of local pride. It was part of a series of locks that connected Lake Ontario to Lake Huron: The Trent Canal. A sister to the Rideau Canal. Both were constructed when wars with the United States were always a threat. Designed to bypass Lake Ontario, linking the Montreal-Ottawa trade route to the west, these canals were further inland from the lake. Built there to prevent American raids: like the sacking of York. The design worked well, but when the threat of conflict eased, they were technically obsolete. Also; shipping vessels had increased in size, which prevented them from being a practical trade route. Currently, the entire canal areas are a tourist region for boating and cottaging. A much different kind of industry than first imagined. 

Pumping the brakes, I approach the structure as the road narrows into a single lane tunnel. Slowing at the entrance, I enter cautiously and sound the horn.  Exiting the tunnel, we turn right on Ashburnham Road, driving along past a section of the canal. Its water has been mostly drained down for the Winter. Already today, there were people down on the ice surface at this God-awful hour. Skating and playing shinny. Better them than me. 

We pass by Beavermead Park: where swimmers must compete with seaweed for some water. It was at the top of Little Lake. Not so much a lake, more like a widening in the Trent River. It straddled the downtown drag of George Street, working its way past a small park, art gallery, and around Little Lake Cemetary. Then it narrows back into a river. That continues towards the next lock in the system. A large fountain sprouted in the middle of the lake, lit up in summer in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colours. Very picturesque for most of the year. 

I turn right at Lansdowne Street and head towards the south end of Peterborough. In the other direction were a few smaller towns: Norwood, Havelock, and Marmora. Eventually you’d end up at the nation’s capital: Ottawa. 

 There wasn’t much of note here in the outskirts of town. Not until you cross pass back over the Trent River at Lock 19. A popular fishing spots during pickerel season. Although you would more likely land a giant carp from there these days.  

Continuing into town, we pass the Memorial Centre & Exhibition Grounds before I hit a red light at Monaghan Road. Looking to my right I can see the perimeter of St Peter’s Cemetary, the old gravestones partially buried in drifts of foot deep snow. You need to be a card-carrying Catholic to enter here for a visit, or they’ll gladly arrange a longer-term stay. 

 Feeling a twinge of guilt, I promise myself I should take my folks over in the Spring to Little Lake Cemetary where my grandparents are interned. That’s a different affair altogether. On the other side of the great divide here in town. Between Catholic and Protestant. We would walk to elementary school on opposite sides of the street in my neighbourhood. With separate crossing guards. All based on religious segregation. They didn’t call nearby Toronto: “The Belfast of North America” for nothing. 

 Eventually, I reach my destination: Mr. Donut. The moustachioed chef on the shop sign greets me with his usual friendly expression. I park, leaving Max in the car. In the shop there are a few folks, sitting around on the orange vinyl counter stools and at the banquettes. A typical older crowd, drinking from ceramic mugs and puffing away on smokes. Soon enough, I’m heading back out with a box of assorted donuts and three large coffees in a take-out tray. Navigating carefully back to the car, I succeed in placing my precious cargo gingerly on the floor behind the bench seat. It just fit. 

Max has woken up now and starts to paw at me when I’m back behind the steering wheel.  

“What’s up Max? You are wanting some donut, or maybe need another little walk?” 

 Max continues to paw as we pull back onto Lansdowne. So, I head straight up the steep hill of the road to the top and turned right into K-Mart. This was Tower’s big competitor for the cut-rate department store market. Although Woolworth’s downtown was definitely in the mix. 

Today, the giant parking lot was empty, so I might as well pull up to a nice spot looking down over the city. Our second vista of the city this morning is on display as Max jumps out the passenger door. He sniffs around a bit, then squirts a long stream of urine. Guess he had to go after all.  The sun was further up on the horizon now, and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. The grey clouds from earlier were clearing off. An auspicious beginning to a new decade. 

Max came up to me now, so I crouch down to pet the dog. We’d known each other for a couple years, but only through informal walks with the other mutts.  I scratch Max behind the ears.  

“Well buddy, let’s go see Davidson, shall we?”  

With this, we get back in the vehicle, and drive out the far side of the lot to a parallel road. Turning here, it is a circuitous route. It wound its way downtown eventually, where I pull the car up right in front of the Peterborough Examiner.   

The local paper’s been around since the 1800’s and once had esteemed author Robertson Davies as it’s editor. It still published six days a week. Today being an exception, for the holiday. I good time to visit and pump Davidson for some leads. Putting the leash on Max, we navigate our way through the front door of the newspaper office.  

Jimmy Robbins was the security guard here, even today. His age was anywhere between 70 and 90, no one knew for sure. There was a running bet in three of the local dive bars as to his birth year. The winners would only know their luck when the eventual passing away of Jimmy took place. And he was having none of that. Jimmy had told them so over glasses of beer in his off-hours. I’d ran into him a few times at the Montreal House or Pig’s Ear tavern. He played a mean snooker game still, usually with the other contestant on the losing end of the match. Yours truly included.  

 Jimmy was doing the crossword at 8:30 am. He looks up as I enter, seeing the coffee’s first, then Max in tow.  

“Well, well, look what the cat dragged in. And that pooch there isn’t much bigger than a feline now, is he?”  

He gets up and comes around the desk, crouching down to pet Max.  

“But a nice little guy, isn’t he?” 

 Max enjoyed the attention, while I place a coffee on the desk and open the box of sweets. 

“Better get a donut now Jimmy, before Davidson gets at them”  

 Jimmy stands up and grabs a double glazed and a coffee.  

“Thanks Peacock. Davidson is upstairs in the lair.”   

I nod and grab the stuff, leading Max up the side staircase to the 2nd floor. The long hallway there is filled with pictures of former editors and boards of directors.  I stop to look at the current board members. Ah, there is a former mayor listed. Jack MacDonald. But it’s another name pops out at me: Klaus Bauman. 

 “Well, well Max, it looks like your master is a bigwig here.”  

We reach the large newsroom at the end. It has 2 rows of windows looking down over the street below. It looks like a cliché from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The metal desks, typewriters, teletype, fax machine, photocopiers, microfilm viewer, water cooler, coffee percolator and wire waste baskets –they were all there. And a glassed-in newsroom editors office is situated in the corner of the room. 

Davidson was sitting slumped back in an office chair at his desk. Down in the far corner, near the toilets. I walk over and quietly slide a chair over. Sitting down, I grab a coffee and a German Chocolate donut, and lean back. Max looks on, eyes fixed upon the donut. After a few minutes of relaxing here, and a with a small treat or two tossed Max’s way; I stand up and grab the other coffee cup, take the lid off and hold the still steaming brew close to Davidsons nose. A few seconds later he sit’s up with a startled look, now wide awake. I chuckle and pull the coffee back, placing it on the desk.  

“Catching up on your beauty sleep Teddy?”  

 Davidson sneers as he looks at me. 

 “What the Hell, Peacock. You startled the fuck out of me.” 

He reaches for his coffee and taking a healthy sip, grabs a Boston Crème. As he holds it up, Max whines for a sample. Davidson looks around the desk at the dog, then back at me. All the while, stuffing half the pastry in his mouth.  

 “And what’s with the mutt J.P.? You looking to get me fired bringing it in here. And I don’t see you with no white cane now, do I?” 

 Davidson spewed this out, just before gulping down the other half on the donut. 

“You’re welcome for the delivery, by the way.”  

Davidson sipped frantically now at his brew. He suddenly needed help to wash all that half-chewed food down his maw. Better that, than me having to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre. Davidson looks remorseful now and sputters out a belated thank-you. I pick up Max and put him on my lap to settle down 

 “And by the way, this isn’t just any old mutt. This is Max. Max Bauman.” 

 Davidson gives me a puzzled look as he reaches for a crueller.  

“That supposed to mean something to me J.P.?” 

“You’re an investigative reporter aren’t you, Teddy? You shouldn’t have much trouble cracking this mystery, right?” 

Davidson sighs as he leans back.  

“For fuck’s sake JP, can you stop being so cryptic for once?” 

 Davidson goes silent now as he chews on his snack. After a minute, he smacks his lips and licks his fingertips.  

“Only Bauman I know is Helmut. He runs National Electric. Originally from Dusseldorf, came up through the ranks at Sieman’s before landing this gig. But what’s he got to do with anything?” Other than the leads I had on him for corruption, embezzlement, and environmental crimes. That shit all hit a dead-end with my editor though, the fucking prick!”  

Davidson was wide awake now and threatening to start fuming. 

“Well, look at the current Board of Directors for the Examiner, and you’ll see why Max here can stay as long as he likes. Right Max?” 

 Davidson slaps his head, as he should have known that fact long ago.  

“For fuck’s sake, no wonder my investigations were kiboshed. Helmut Bauman on the Board. Anyone else I should know about J.P.?”  

I motion with my thumb towards the hallway.  

“Take a look for yourself Teddy.”  

Davidson extracts himself from his chair and walks out to the hallway. Me? I’ll take stroll over to the sidewall, walking Max around the office with me. At the pegboards and whiteboards, story ideas for tomorrow’s edition are written or highlighted. The main news staff will work on whatever they filter out from this jumble.  Not much is scrawled on there of any interest to me. A report on New Years Eve at City Hall, some arrests for drunkenness and assaults, a break and enter, the first baby of the new year. The usual. 

I wander over beside the newswire teletype. Canadian Press and Reuters newsfeeds came in here regularly and there were a couple healthy stacks of news items that had come across in the last 48 hours. I sit down here, planning to peruse through the papers as Davidson comes back. 

“Snooping around as usual J.P.? You’ll be the death of me yet Peacock, I swear. But go ahead and look around for a lead, although you’d be better off with the bulletin board, no? Local stuff, right? Not Reuters for fuck’s sake. And you got to clear out of here in an hour, capice?” 

I ignore his stream of banter, and just start reading. Davidson retreats to his desk in resignation. It’s a time-consuming task, but I scan slowly through pages of printouts of recent events around the country and the globe. Mostly it is about festive celebrations, travel cancellations, accidents, and crimes from around the world. I wasn’t even looking for anything specific. I’m just a curious type of guy. One who kept his eyes and mind open for possibilities. Reading on, I come across a few highlighted stories that Davidson had earmarked for the afternoon shift. A train derailment in India, bomb scares at Milan airport, and some fluff & odd news items.   

I went back through to the New Years Eve teletype pages; and something caught eye. Police in Frankfurt have put out an appeal for public help. A German industrialist running a large factory in North America has gone missing. He had arrived December 21st with his wife on a transatlantic flight from Toronto. Upon arrival and after customs, he had gone to the toilets, while his wife went to the baggage carousel. And that was the last anyone had seen of him. 

I sit bolt upright, waking Max awoke from his slumber in annoyance.  

“What’s up J.P., did you see a ghost?”  

Davidson bellows, from across the room. I swivel around.  

“Not a ghost Teddy, but maybe a lead for me, and likely a scoop for you. That’s if you run with it now.” 

 Davidson got up and came over to the teletype.  

“What did I miss Peacock?”  

Davidson leans over to look over my shoulder at the article. But Davidson is puzzled. 

 “What’s so special about that J.P.? Hardly of local interest now, so what gives?”  

“Helmet and Helga Bauman arrived in Frankfurt December 21st. On a flight from Toronto.That’s why I have their dog with me. I’m dog-sitting. They’re due back on the 6th. It could be a coincidence, but in this case, it looks like our man Helmut. He’s not just the head of National Electric in Canada, but rumour has it he’s in the running to take over the entire firm when the current CEO retires.” 

Davidson gives me a slap on the back and whistles loudly. 

 “That’s one hot potato you got there J.P.! How exactly you figure I should play this?” 

I hand Davidson the teletype page. “Well first thing to do is bury this in your desk Teddy. You want some old hack to take the credit for this story? Then go dig up whatever you can on Herr Bauman in the archives. Meanwhile I’ll make a few enquiries on your desk-phone. You don’t mind if I use your name do you Teddy?”  

Davidson looked puzzled now:  

“Wait a minute. What are you up too Peacock?” 

“Just helping and old buddy out with some research for the first news scoop of the 80’s at the Examiner. Something to get you upgraded from a glorified pencil-pusher. Or better yetyou could farm the story out to the Toronto Star or Globe and Mail. It’s an international story, no? And by the way how’s your German?”  

“My what?” 

“Exactly. I’ll do the calls, you get hunting for more background on the Bauman’s, cool?” 

“Yeah, but what’s in all this for you Peacock? Huh?” 

“Nothing much at the moment, but I have a feeling. My Spidey-Sense is tingling.” 

Davidson shakes his head and mutter’s something unintelligible under his breath. But he heads back to the archive room. Leaving Max to sleep here, I head over to Davidsons desk; to rustle around for a pad, pencil and a phone directory. With this done, I sit down in his chair. First thing on my list is a local call-to Peterborough Police Headquarters. It was a holiday, so I’d likely get some underling on the phone. Worth a call regardless. 

Finding the number in the phone book, I dial through and get an answer within seconds. 

“Peterborough Police Headquarters. Constable Jackson speaking. How can I help you?” 

“Hello, this is Edward Davidson from the Peterborough Examiner. I was calling to see if you had any comment on the Helmut Bauman case?” 

“The what case? I’ll transfer you through to the staff Seargent. Just a moment.” 

Soon a gruff voice, half-hoarse, comes on the other end of the line. “ 

Acting staff sergeant Corkery here, how can I help?” 

“It’s Davidson from the Examiner, I’m calling to see if you had any comment on or had been contacted by Frankfurt Police. About the disappearance.” 

“A disappearance, eh. Anyone in particular you’re wondering about? Whoever it is , they’re likley on a bender still. It was just New Years Eve afterall. Plus, a missing person’s report takes a day or two , so you’d be best calling back in a couple days, ok?” 

Corkery seemed well-versed in the art of the brush-off. But I persist. 

“Helmut Bauman is the missing party. Does that name ring a bell Seargent?” 

Corkery stalls now.  

“Hmm, I might have heard it somewhere…” 

“He’s head of National Electric. You’ve heard of them, haven’t you?” 


“Listen now. It was Davidson, wasn’t it? I’m not sure who you are and where you’re getting your information but there is nothing, I can tell you about that. And it’s New Year’s Day for Christ’s sakes. Were short-staffed and up to our eyeballs in drunks, so go bust someone else’s balls for a story!” 

The phone slammed down. There was something in this all right. 

Next was a call to the operator. Together we went through the process of finding a number for the Frankfurt Police. This took a bit of finagling and rerouting but eventually I was routed through to the main station. I’d picked up some German at high school and some Japanese through language books.  Figured it was all the WWII and Godzilla movies I’d ingested in younger years that drew me to those languages. 

I dial through and get another desk-jockey. This one spoke German. 

“Hallo, Polizeipräsidium Frankfurt. Das ist Wachtmeister Schmidt. Wie kann ich Ihnen heute helfen?” 

“Hallo. Das ist Edward Davidson von der kanadischen Zeitung Peterborough Examiner. Ich wollte Informationen über das Verschwinden von Helmut Baumann bekommen.” 

“Einen Moment bitte, ich bringe Sie in den Untersuchungsraum durch.” 

Re-routed again. Different country, same process. The line rang again for a few seconds, then was went through. 

“Hallo, hier ist Detective Mueller.” 

I repeat my query. But add a detail:  

“Entschuldigung, aber ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch.” 

Mueller: “No problem, Herr Davidson. I speak some English. You are enquiring about a Herr Bauman. How do you come to think that we are looking for him.” 

I hear the tell-tale sound of a cigarette lighter being sparked on the other end, and the low rumble of voices somewhere in the vicinity of Mueller. 

Peacock: “Well we have a reliable source that states National Electric CEO Helmut Bauman, accompanied by his wife, flew on the flight in question. So, when the newswire feed mentioned some details of your investigation it didn’t take long to link the two events.” 

“Very quick thinking on your part then, Herr Davidson. But unfortunately, we can only officially confirm what information was already released yesterday to the press, as well as a general description of the man.” 

“Ok, but unofficially Herr Mueller, if you are looking for the public’s help, wouldn’t it be better to release the name and photo of the missing person.” 

Mueller snorts on the other end of the line. 

“Well, yes Herr Davidson. But we have other sensitive matters to consider that are not to your knowledge. So, we are appealing to people who were at the airport around that time, or on the flight to come forward with any information they may possess that could be of use. We have followed up on a few leads so far and are hoping for more to come in soon. 

“But you’ve hit a dead-end I assume.” 

“Yes, he seems to have vanished into thin air. Your so called: Dead-End, I presume? But the case is more complicated than you realize. Due to the nature of the man’s family history here in Germany, and the career of an elder sibling. Not to mention the ongoing issue with the RAF cell.” 

“Interesting, can you tell me more about that, Herr Meuller?” 

“Well, we are quite busy here Herr Davidson with various cases. I suggest you further utilize your initiative to dig a bit more into the Bauman family for a better idea of the wider implications at play here in Germany. Guten Tag, Herr Davidson.” 

The phone line went dead, so I replace the receiver in the holder. Sitting back with the notepad I jot down some ideas. Looks like I’d have to do some research for more background on things. Family history was easy enough to track down.  

A few minutes later Davidson returns from the backroom without much to add. Other than Bauman’s start date, and various press releases or announcements. There was some brief mention of his career at Siemans in Germany but not much more than that. I give Davidson a briefing from my phone calls, which all but confirmed that Helmut Bauman was the missing executive and that was bound to be a big local news story.  If he played it right. 

That was a big if. I told Davidson to start work on an article in secret. I’d try to get some more information to feed to him soon. It sounded like it would be a few days till the identity of the missing man was revealed. So, we a bit of time. There was enough causality, and unofficial conversation, to put together a speculative article. But something bigger is afoot. It was something Mueller had rhymed off in closing. The RAF Cell.  

Was there a terrorist angle to this mystery? I’d read about the Baader-Meinhof and Red Brigades in Europe. But RAF? 

on the mend & on the move

Things have slowed down here at HBDLR since mid-August. I had a very bad spill on my Gazelle bike in Montreal ,and have been in hospital mending/rehabbing after some serious wrist surgery. A BIG shout out to my sister for hunkering down at my place in Montreal to help me navigate the labyrinth that is the Quebec Healthcare System and help keep the spirit and appetite alive. It’s been a bizarre end to summer for yours truly.

I’m just able to move the wrist enough to get back to the keyboard now , so hopefully other updates will follow in a more timely manner. The summer was busy as I worked away on finishing the first draft of Fallen Angels. I hope to get back at the manuscript later in October for more revisions and changes. I’ll be sending it over at some point for a look-see with a nice small-press in Europe. Hopefully I’ll have some good news on that front in 2023-but there is much work to do still as I get back at things.

It looks like I’ll be relocating back to a small century-cottage I picked up in Hamilton in the summer ,and I will be leaving Montreal behind. Well at least as a full-time resident. Steeltown beckons, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and family. And catching the train to a baseball game. Hopefully a return to some radio is in the cards, spinning some soundtracks and synth sounds.

More news to come, but for now think good thoughts.

2022-an update

All is well here at HardBoiled. It’s been a stop and start process of finishing the first draft of Fallen Angels. But the end is clearly in sight for the tail-end of this summer. So stand by. When The Luck Runs Dry is still selling on e-reader platforms, and in print. Retail outlets in Ontario are: James Street Bookseller and Paisley Cafe. Here in Montreal we have the book for sale at the very cool shop in NDG: Encore Books.

Check the menu above for links to get the novel and to watch the 2012 film version (Lucky 7), It is in distribution with Factory Film Studio, and available to view or purchase through ITunes North America. Some new distribution platforms may be announced soon though. Stay tuned for that.

I hope to return to Hamilton for the 2nd annual Authors in the Park Festival. The date is set for Aug 7 2022, with more authors and a reading stage. I may participate in the readings with a little segment of the novel called: Frankies Dead. I’ll post more information on that when the graphics and link are available.

If you’ve already read the book and liked what you saw (or not) drop a review onto the Goodreads page if you have a moment: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57831183-when-the-luck-runs-dry

Till next time, keep the faith:)


Page Turning in The Hammer

I was recently invited to attend the Page Turner Panel at The Westdale Theatre as part of the 2021 Hamilton Film Festival. Also on the bill were Colin Chilvers and Aaron Lam. Colin is an Oscar winning SPX artist who’s recently penned and auto-biography : Believing A Man Can Fly. Aaron co-authored this book as well as one of his own delving into the world of soundtracks for action cinema. Many thanks to Nathan Fleet for planning and hosting the event; and all the folks who came out:)

Crawls, Festivals, & Radio

Hey folks, just a quick update on all thing “hardboiled”. Writing is a little difficult as I broke my wrist a week back, and the plaster cast has mostly mobilized my left hand. But I am slowly on the mend, so I will hopefully get back to my more regular writing schedule soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been busy planning to attend a couple of upcoming events. Friday October 15th, I will be at the inaugural Book Crawl in Hamilton, ON. Modelled on the popular Art Crawl, this event will feature 30+ local authors selling their books along the very funky Ottawa Street business district. Come on out and say hi, and grab a copy of When The Luck Runs Dry if you find yourself in The Hammer on the 15.:)

A couple weeks later, I’ll be at another event in Hamilton. This time I’ll be part of the Page Turner panel, an event programmed as part of the long-running Hamilton Film Festival. I’ll be there along with Aaron Lam and Colin Chilvers. Chilvers is an Academy Award winning SPX specialist with a long and varied career that began back in the late 60’s when he worked on The Battle of Britain. It should be a fun and entertaining afternoon at The Westdale Cinema, and we’ll be doing a book signing afterwards, so hope to see you there. Details and links for advance tickets can be found at: https://www.hamiltonfilmfestival.com

Recently I caught up with James Tennant, host of Get Lit on 93.3 CFMU-FM. We chatted for about 30 minutes and the on-air broadcast should be late October. It will then be available via podcast. Here is a link for the show page and archived shows, and I’ll update the blog when the on-air date approaches. https://cfmu.ca/shows/9-get-lit

More updates soon-till then think good thoughts!


Fallen Angels: a work in progress.

Hey folks , I hope everyone is well. I had a few days in Hamilton, and attended the Authors in the Park event. The rain held off just enough to squeeze the sale in on Aug 1 .Then the heavens opened to unleash a torrent of rain and hail. I had my friend Jane Smythe at my table with her hand-made jewellery, and I made a brisk trade selling copies of When The Luck Runs Dry. Thanks to Hamilton: Our History for organizing the event and Hamilton Film Festival for the loaner of a table and chairs.

I am back in Montreal now, enjoying the weather, and working away at the sequel novel: Fallen Angels. If you have read: When The Luck Runs Dry, or watched the film: Lucky 7, you will recognize some characters and settings in the follow-up book. It is still in first-draft stage, but I’ll paste in a tease scene. Enjoy!


The Big Top. It’s an old greasy spoon breakfast and lunch emporium in the core of Hamilton. Down at the corner of Main and Sherman. It used to be a go-to spot for late night partiers who had stayed out until the next dawn. Back when the city was a hub of bars, nightclubs, theatres and mobsters. All of that has pretty much disappeared now by the 1990’s, except the mobsters part. Although after Lucano got bumped off last year, they have been laying low. But they were still there, if you looked for them.

The restaurant was joined by a coin laundry business on the bottom floor of this old mid-sized building; with a few floors of low-rent flats above. Across the street is a large newer generic drug store, one of a chain that seem to be sprouting all over the province. I can see a few folks straggling to and from the small parking lot that runs parallel to Sherman along the side of the pharmacy. I have a clear view from my small banquette halfway down the dining area of the Big Top. Over to my right is the old cash box and countertop dining area, with the fry cook further back. He is toiling away now scraping with a stone at the stainless-steel fryer top.

It is 10:00 so it’s a bit of a lull time here for the staff. A good time to show up for a bite in my humble opinion. I haven’t eaten much of my Big Breakfast Plate, however. Other that most of the stack of pancakes, even with the fake maple syrup drowning them in a pool of sticky sweetness.

I catch the eye of my waitress; Eileen I think her name is. She may have worked here since this place opened it’s hard to tell. She looks the same as when I first would start coming here on the occasional day, we would skip out on some afternoon classes at Cathedral High School. We’d either come here and hang out or wander down to Papa’s Billiards on Charlotte Street; there we would shoot a few games of snooker and maybe munch on a cheeseburger and fries at the old stainless-steel counter, spinning around on the stools in a never-ending circle of personal amusement.

But today, stool spinning is the furthest thing from my mind. What I need is a refill on the dark swill of coffee they serve here. The bullshit with Brian had kept us up late in the night, but I had arisen early enough anyways. I left Julia to keep sleeping and snuck off down the street to sort out my thoughts. I manage now to catch the eyes of Eileen as she if prepping coffee machines for the lunch rush in an hours’ time. She grabs a carafe and hustles over and tops up my mug. She pulls the Hamilton Spectator that is protruding out of her apron pocket, and places it in front of me. It looks like it’s already been passed to a few customers that morning.

Eileen: “All the news that’s fit to print.”

She walks away and I sip the scalding hot brew, pushing my plate of food aside as I open the front section of the paper in front of me. The selection of news is the usual gripes about how hard done by the city was and the pronouncements of entitled smallminded city councillors, some who have been in power ad-nauseum as this town had no term limits for politicians. Or mobsters. It seems they’ve been around even longer; except they could be replaced. By the barrel of a gun.

But read on I do, even settling for a few moments on the obituary column. But that’s not somewhere I want to dwell to long, so I decide on a read of a lengthy analysis on The Ticats early exit from the quarterfinals in the CFL playoffs last weekend. There will be no Grey Cup parade in steel-town this November it seems, and there is much handwringing and whining in the sports column to make some drama out of it.

It is an amusing read, and it’s only in the back recesses of my mind that I acknowledge hearing the entrance door squeak and footsteps approach my table. But I do hear the vinyl seat cushion strain under the weight of someone sitting down opposite me. I peak around the side of the newspaper to see Harry. His right hand reaches out to grab a stray piece of toast, and he dips it in messily in the uneaten egg yolk on my plate. Harry munches away, eating the toast. He grimaces and looks up now at me.

Harry: “The yolk’s a little runny, wouldn’t you say? “

I have no answer for him. as he takes another piece of toast and sneers at it. He looks over to the side of the tabletop and grabs a bottle of HP Sauce. He proceeds to dump a generous dollop on my plate and dips the toast. Harry smiles now as he eats it. Now he grabs my coffee mug and inspects it and sneers. He dips his finger in it. He looks towards the counter and waves a hand at Eileen, catching her eye.

Harry: “My friend’s coffee’s gone cold… “

Eileen walks over with the coffee carafe. She fills my cup and turns to leave. Harry puts his hand on her arm stopping her. He motions to the plate of milk containers on the table.

Harry: “And he doesn’t want this milk anymore, he’d like some cream.”

Eileen retracts her hand from Harry’s grip and her smile turns into a sneer as she looks at Harry while taking cream containers from her smock and dumping them on top on the milk.

Eileen: “Anything else your friend would like?”

Harry “Yeah. He forgot to order a side of sausage and toast. White toast lightly buttered and jam-lots of jam. Just put it on the bill for him.”

Eileen shakes her head and withdraws, while Harry mixes cream into my cup of coffee. He drinks from it and stares at the outside headlines of the Spectator which I am still trying to read

Harry: “Lots of bad news in the old rag this morning friend? “

I ignore him and keep reading. If Harry is here for a reason, I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. We sit there is silence for a few minutes, then Eileen returns with the plate of sausage and toast and places it in front of me while I move the newspaper aside. Harry intercepts the plate as it hits the surface, and he slides it over to himself.

Harry: “All that bad news in the paper upset his stomach, gave him a little indigestion. Better just leave that here till his stomach settles down.”

Eileen: “Maybe it isn’t the news, maybe it’s the company he’s keeping.”

Harry laughs.

Harry: “I’ll let him know! Oh, and he could use a clean knife and fork when you got a moment sweetheart.”

Harry winks at Eileen and her sneer is now turning into a scowl. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Either way, she is unimpressed with Harry’s demeanour to say the least, and she grabs the cutlery from the next booth and places if loudly down next to him. She turns quickly on her heel, but Harry is non-plussed as he now digs into the food. I go back to the Spectator and start to read an article that makes me chortle lightly.

Harry: “Something funny Lucky?”

Me: “Yeah. I’m just reading this article about some guy that croaked last week. Tripped on his way down the stairs in a Chinese restaurant late one night. The owner thought he had skipped out on the bill, so didn’t go looking for him. The cleaner found him the next day. “

Harry: “That’s funny? “

I lower the newspaper now all the way down and gaze at Harry.

Me: “Yeah. It’s funny to think one minute you’re sitting enjoying some food in a place, and the next you’re lying stiff at the bottom of a stairwell with a broken neck.”

Harry: “Staircase is a few yards away. How you figure you can pull it off. “

Me: “Maybe you’re right. Guy could just as easily choke on a sausage though, couldn’t he?”

Harry: “Heard that happened to some gear- box in Toronto last year. What do
you expect trying to eat something down all in one bite?”

Harry laughs at his own sick humour.

Harry: “Kind of like the Andreoli brothers last year, no? They sure bit off more than they could
chew; didn’t they?”

Harry laughs again, and I lift the newspaper back up. But not far enough to stop me seeing him he begin to pick his teeth with a matchbook. He has downed that breakfast in record time it seems.

Harry: “Funny the stuff that don’t make it into the paper. Like some pissed-up Irish copper hanging out with a crack-whore all night, and his dumb-ass brother busting in and messing up the joint.

I lower the newspaper again.

Me: “I should have put my complaint through the Better Business Bureau?”

Harry:” Look. I’m just a messenger. I got better things to do than hang around in a greasy spoon staring at your ugly mug. The Reverend wants to see you about it tonight at the Domenica-ok? “

Harry gets up to leave now and burps a rancid belch as he down the coffee. He wipes his mouth with the side of his hand and looks at me

Harry: “Don’t forget to leave a good tip when you leave. You know how much they pay people these places? Peanuts.”

Harry throws his match book on the table as Eileen glares in his direction. He makes his way through the front door and onto the sidewalk. I fold up the newspaper, and neatly place it on the outside of the table. I throw 30$ down on top of it, figuring that should more than cover the bill for the food and the stupidity of Hary’s impromptu appearance. I get up and walk out, and luckily Harry is nowhere to be seen so I can walk away with only the roar of car traffic to accompany my thoughts.

Gore Park 1860

Authors in the Park

Hey folks all is good here at HardBoiled. I am working away slowly on the follow-up novel: Fallen Angels. I’ve been attending some writing workshops with the Quebec Writers Federation as I am now relocating full-time to Montreal.

I am in Hamilton this weekend , and will be participating in a cool event featuring local writers called: Authors In The Park. The show takes place Aug 1 from 1-4 pm and will feature a plethora of local talent hawking their wares, including your truly.

Swing on by this Sunday and say hi; and pick-up a signed copy of :When The Luck Runs Dry. The event takes place in Hamilton’s historic Gore Park, steps away from the Hunter Street Go-Transit station. Hope to see you there:)


Read All About It!

Things are chugging away slowly but surely here at Hard-Boiled. We picked up some nice press in the Hamilton area recently. A few weeks go I spoke with Hammer D20 about the new book: “When The Luck Runs Dry” for Cable 14. If you missed the show live, this link will take you to a podcast of the show w host Stevan Sobot: https://cable14now.com/video-on-demand/video/?videoId=5760

This week we have a nice feature in the Hamilton Community News/Dundas Star courtesy of Cara Nickerson: https://www.hamiltonnews.com/community-story/10389549-former-dundas-filmmaker-stephen-hayes-debuts-gritty-first-novel/?fbclid=IwAR2VEd9xgq5ShB1QPZASF-FHT6DHFeJuiYSCnGdyaY3f87kMDs4W_7J4I1Y

We picked up another outlet as well for the books: Cafe Domestique in Dundas, On has signed copies ready to go. Just ask the ever friendly Krys Hines and he will fill you in: https://cafedomestiique.com

Books are still available at The James Street Bookseller: https://www.jamesstreetbooks.ca and Paisley Cafe: https://paisleycoffeehouse.com so happy reading! E-book and film links for I Tunes are in the menu above. Oh and here is the article courtesy of Cara Nickerson & The Dundas Star:

Former Dundas filmmaker Stephen Hayes debuts gritty first novel
Cara Nickerson
Dundas Star News
Monday, May 10, 2021
Author Stephen Hayes’ debut novel, ‘When the Luck Runs Dry’, begins with a literal bang. A mobster has been shot dead on one of the piers near Hamilton’s Stelco plant, and the main character has been framed for his murder.

The gritty, self-published neo-noir novel is an adaption of Hayes’ 2012 film ‘Lucky 7’. The film, like the novel, is set entirely in Hamilton, which the former Dundas resident said was the perfect place to tell his tale.

“I thought Hamilton made a great setting, and had a great background visually,” he said. “The crime setting is also quite rich; maybe not in a good way, but there’s a lot of material there.”

In 2012, Hayes took ‘Lucky 7’ to several international festivals and was working on a sequel script, ‘Fallen Angels’, when he was in a severe accident and lost his left leg.

“It knocked me out of doing much for over a year or two,” Hayes said. “After my accident, I didn’t go back to work in film. I retired from being a technician, when I had those life-altering injuries.”

Hayes turned his focus to writing. He began working on several different scripts before he decided to adapt ‘Lucky 7’ into a novel. Hayes found that moving the story from a film to a novel gave him more creative freedom.

“We did a two-hour crime movie, but there was actually only one gunshot on screen,” Hayes said. “It costs money to do even one gunshot, with insurance and police you have to have on duty and special effects …”

Those barriers don’t exist when you tell a story through a novel, he said. However, Hayes discovered that getting his book into print has its own challenges when he submitted his manuscript to publishing houses.

“Some will never get back to you,” Hayes said. “Some might take two years get back to you.”

Hayes didn’t wait to hear back from any of the publishing houses and pushed forward on his own.
“Overall, it was a pretty good experience, but it was a total learning curve from doing a movie,” Hayes said.

Other than commissioning an artist from Hamilton’s Dundurn Press to design the cover, Hayes has done all the work for his first book himself, taking it to the presses and has been doing all the promotional and distribution work.

With his first novel on the shelf, Hayes is looking toward his next project: converting three of his scripts into novels, including ‘Fallen Angels’, the sequel to ‘When the Luck Runs Dry’.

“I want to move on,” Hayes said. “I got all the work done. Now it’s time to get it out there, work on promoting it and then move on to the next one.”

Hayes’ first novel is currently available in Hamilton at Paisley Café and James Street Bookseller.

Spreading the word. Literally.

Hey folks, I hope everyone is well. It has been a busy few weeks for your humble author. Between vaccine jabs, medical appointments, and transitioning to a new residence in Montreal it has been difficult to keep the blog updated.

I squeezed in an interview with Hammer D20 that is live streaming this weekend, and I will tell you more about that (and hopefully provide an archive link) on the next blog.

We have a couple of shops selling print copies of : When The Luck Runs Dry in Hamilton, ON. I hope to have some more outlets, including some in Montreal in the future. Alternately, you can read the book by clicking above in the menu; links for e-pub platforms, mail-order service, and for the film LUCKY 7 (2012) all all there for your perusal.

Our friends over at the Paisley Cafe in Westdale have been doing a swift trade selling copies and cappuccinos, many thanks to Sarah (and crew) for helping get the title out! https://paisleycoffeehouse.com

We also are in stock at the very cool James St. Booksellers in downtown Hamilton. Contact Monique for curb-side pick-up of a hard copy and take a peak at the very cool interior that is one of the main locations of the Apple TV Series: GHOSTWRITER: https://www.jamesstreetbooks.ca

E-Book Release & Print Pre-Orders

The E-book release of: When The Luck Runs Dry is active as of March 17, 2021. You can find it on Apple Books, Kobo, and Kindle by clicking on the menu at the top of the home page. There is also a menu to contact us to pre-order a print copy of the novel, click on Print for the details. As well there is a Watch menu if you are interested in the original Neo-Noir film: Lucky 7 (2012).

I hope to have some news on retail outlets in the Ontario and Quebec region that may carry the title this Spring; more to come on that later. Thanks for the awesome support folks, and I will have another update in the near future. Cheers, for now!