Murder In Rock & Roll Heaven: A Novel

guitar-graveyard-by-gordon-heaney-4I tried to get this new book of mine published by Amazon’s press but it didn’t work out. That’s okay, though. You can’t win ’em all. I published it on Kindle myself so at least it’s out there. I’m proud of it. It’s my 6th book on Amazon and I’m busy writing my 7th as we speak. Here’s the synopsis of Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven:

Are you sure you want to go to Heaven? No one ever “re-dies” in Heaven; unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to singer Amy Winehouse. Her death, an unprecedented event in Heaven’s history, has thrown a once docile world into unfortunate chaos. Because of the new uneasy alliance between angels and citizens, a freshly-arrived detective in the rock & roll town has been tasked with investigating the prime suspects, the members of the 27 Club – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. To make matters worse, a powerful angel from one of the upper levels of Heaven will soon arrive to make her ten-year inspection, a task that fills the other angels with dread since she has the power to banish anyone of them to the underworld. So, with time running out, the PI and his newly acquired sidekick, both aided by rock legends such as Eddie Cochran, Mama Cass, Kurt Cobain, Karen Carpenter and others, must quickly uncover the mystery that threatens not only to close Heaven’s doors forever, but promises to send a ripple effect through the entire universe that can rip it apart.

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My Conversation With Michael Jackson at the Food Bank

michael-jacksonHiya, folks. I was sitting here on the floor at the Wallingford Food Bank surfing the internet when I happened to look up. Lo and behold, it’s my old pal, the king of pop, Michael Jackson. He’s trying to be incognito wearing torn jeans and a grey hoodie but I’d recognize him anywhere. He’s always been a good conversationalist so I’ll secretly now use my laptop to record our conversation.

Me: [I get up and walk over to him] Hey Mike!

Mike: [Puts an index finger to his lips] Shhh! Hey Robin, I’m trying not to be noticed.

Me: [I sit next to him and we shake hands] Boy, a lot of people sure miss you.

Mike: That’s sweet. I miss them, too.

Me: Man, I haven’t seen you since the ‘Bad’ tour.

Mike: Just busy, you know?

Me: Yeah. Of course. So how have you been?

Mike: Okay. Can’t complain.

Me: What brings you to this food bank like us poor folks? You can afford to have steak and lobster at the Waldorf-Astoria every day.

Mike: Well, they keep us on a strict diet in Heaven, so every so often I come down here for something different.

Me: Uh huh.

Mike: Oh, sorry, man. I forgot you don’t believe in God. My bad.

Me: Actually, Mike, this morning I had an epiphany.

Mike: What happened?

Me: I was lying there at the transitional shelter thinking about Anekāntavāda and saw life in a new light, if you will.

Mike: What’s Anekāntavāda?

Me: It’s the Jainism belief that truth and reality can be ascertained from different viewpoints, that there is no single truth.

Mike: I’ve heard of Jainism. Are you a Jain now?

Me: Oh yeah. I’ve been a Jain all my life, just never knew it. A lot of the tenets and beliefs in Jainism I could have written myself because they’re right in step with how I think anyway. A lot of penances they suggest, I’ve done. You know, Mike, over the years I’ve practiced fasting, eating food without seasonings, getting rid of things I like my concert shirts, walking miles instead of driving or taking the bus, sleeping on surfaces other than a bed, etc.

Mike: So you found religion.

Me: Yep.

Mike: That’s your epiphany?

Me: What are we sitting on?

Mike: Chairs?

Me: Why do you call them chairs? Why not footstools?

Mike: [Looking puzzled] Because they’re… chairs?

Me: Says who?

Mike: I guess everyone. It’s common knowledge.

Me: Around the world? They call it ‘chair’?

Mike: Well, in different languages, of course. In Beijing, it’s ‘yizi’. In Mexico City, it’s ‘silla’. In downtown Addis, it’s ‘weniberi’. In Moscow, it’s ‘stul’…

Me: So it is footstool in Russia!

Mike: Nope. That would be ‘skameyechka diya nog’. Where are you going with this?

Me: Where does the word ‘chair’ come from?

Mike: I don’t know. Maybe European or Native American?

Me: And it’s an old word.

Mike: I guess.

Me: Maybe Caveman Og called it a chair and the name stuck.

Mike: Could be.

Me: So now it’s widely known as ‘chair’, not ‘footstool.’

Mike: I guess so. That’s how everyone knows it.

Me: Can I change it to footstool?

Mike: You can change it to grease paint if that floats your boat. It’s still a chair.

Me: The majority of people call it a chair so I may as well, too. It’s ridiculous to refute that, even if Og was wrong by calling it ‘chair’.

Mike: Yeah. I mean, if you want proof, you can always go back in time when Og was naming things. Even if it wasn’t ‘chair’, it doesn’t matter. Just accept it’s a chair. Millions of people have been calling it ‘chair’ for centuries. Even if the word for it really is ‘footstool’, it’s still a chair because they all believe it’s a chair.

Me: Right. And millions of people over the centuries have said there is a God. Even if I doubt that, it doesn’t matter. God still exists.

Mike: [rubbing his chin] I see where you’re coming from. So you’re not an atheist anymore?

Me: Oh, yeah. I still am, but Anekāntavāda says there are different viewpoints to truth and reality so it’s a concept I accept. With Anekāntavāda there is space for more than one viewpoint which Jainism teaches us to accept. If people say there’s a God in Heaven, I have no choice but to accept that. That’s my epiphany.

Mike: Wow. Robin, you must be getting old. Years ago you would never have said that.

Me: Yeah. I’m still learning. Student for life.

Mike: You were always inquisitive anyway.

Me: That’s true.

Mike: Hey, Robin, they just called my number. I’m gonna get my bag of groceries and bounce; [points to the sky] get back up there before they notice.

Me: Thanks for talking, Mike. People really miss you down here. You’re one of a kind.

Mike: Thanks. Take care.