Today I have a teaser for you guys from my friend over on Twitter, Casper Pearl! As always, I’ve included links for both Goodreads and Amazon. If you’re a member of KindleUnlimited, you can get this for FREE right now! For non-members, it’s only $0.99, so there are really no excuses to not check this out if you enjoy thriller/action novels.
Meet Chuck Steak. His insides are well done. He’s a cop, but not just any. He’s the best. Hasn’t been one like him since the ‘90s. Won’t work with partners and disregards the collateral damage his boss is always screaming about.
Chuck Steak is USDA Prime badass, so having a bomb planted inside Mia, his secret, longtime girlfriend who’s been dreaming of marriage for almost a decade, should be just another day at the office. The problem is, an elusive villain challenges Chuck to deliver Mia’s dream wedding within a week’s time, or she’ll blow.
Overwhelmed with “girly tasks”, Chuck’s forced out of his action-heavy comfort zone and into scenarios which require words instead of bullets. One results in the loss of his right hand, and when it’s replaced with a black hand, this white cop (now .65% black) encounters a new kind of villain: racism.
With time against him, Chuck will have to find a non-violent way to convince the love of his life and her disapproving family that this isn’t another publicity stunt—that after all of these years, it’s finally time to ditch the legacy he’s been slaving over in favor of the family she’s always dreamed of. All while overcoming unexpected hurdles like his own department and their trigger-happy mentality toward minorities, backstories, a feminist gang, incredibly friendly Muslims, dementia, depression, gender equality, and trying to maintain action-orientated roots in an increasingly politically correct world.
CHUCK STEAK is a violent, brutally honest satire of our very diverse, yet segregated society. It attempts to seamlessly blend themes of love and hate while examining the reasoning behind people’s sometimes idiotic actions. All while turning tropes on their heads and obliterating stereotypes with explosions.
The table might as well be a sauna. Everything steams. Chuck feels the loss of mass. His face melts off.
“Dear Lord,” Orpheus says with shut eyes, “thank you for another day of life. You’re too kind, honestly. Truly. Wholeheartedly. And thank you for—”
Everyone looks at Chuck. He mumbles.
“What, Chuck?” Orpheus says as he cups his ear. “Speak up, Chuck.”
“I’d like to lead grace.” Of course this is a blatant lie. Everybody knows, especially Mia.
“But you hate grace,” Mia whispers.
He’s always hated grace, even before Orpheus randomly called on him one Thanksgiving.
“I think we’d all finally like to hear you lead grace for once,” Orpheus announced, “Chuck.”
Chuck panicked and drew a blank. Seconds earlier, he had been reliving an event from the previous day where he thwarted a villain who called himself The Gardener. The event had made Chuck giggle, so this was Orpheus’ revenge:
“Come on, Hotshot, it’s only grace,” Orpheus had said.
The entire length of the table stared at Chuck. There must have been thirty-some Johnsons there.
“Hello?” Orpheus knocked. “Earth to Chuck Steak! Yoo-hoo! Over here!”
In his mind, Chuck was still stuck with The Gardener. The guy wore an aluminum bucket on his head, a bright yellow, plastic raincoat, and matching rain boots. What sort of crimes did The Gardener commit? Well, he snuck into citizens’ professionally landscaped yards to plant goutweed, periwinkle, poor man’s mustard, English ivy, and dog-strangling vine amongst many others. Over time, The Gardener wreaked havoc upon lawns. Over time, The Gardener ruined peoples’ perception of perfection.
Chuck had long since forgotten about that dreadful Thanksgiving where he never mustered forth the strength to give grace its due diligence.
“Hello?” Orpheus knocks on the table. “Earth to Chuck Steak!” Déjà vu.
Chuck’s trapped in time.
The Gardener would venture back to the scene of his crimes. He’d catch his victims on all fours, lost in foliage, hacking at the land with their weeding hoes, trying to undo all his hard-earned work of weed-planting. Angered and confused and feeling a sense of entitlement, The Gardener would use bricks to beat the homeowners in the back of their sweaty heads. When the victims eventually came to, they found themselves blinded by the blistering sun. Their mouths were stuffed with leaves and bound by vines. And worst of all, they couldn’t move a muscle, for they were planted, neck-deep, in the soil. Seven out of The Gardener’s nine victims succumbed to heat exhaustion. One went by way of vengeful sewer rats driven by their ancestors’ brutal and unjust demises. And the last, such an unlucky S.O.B., went by way of their significant other. The significant other, a wife, had peeked out into the yard, seen the weeds still plaguing her garden, yelled for her husband, his name was Ben, and when Ben didn’t answer, she became annoyed, because she had told poor Ben to whack the weeds at least sixteen times that very day. Maddened, she set off to complete this chore herself. Thus, poor Ben was soon taken out by his own wife’s atrocious weed-whacking abilities.
“Well,” says Orpheus, “this is downright embarrassing.”
One would logically assume Chuck Steak got ahold of The Gardener in the nick of time before attacking a tenth victim and successfully planted the maniac in the ground to give him a dose of his own medicine, but this was not the case.
“I’m sorry, Lord,” Orpheus shuts his eyes again and chuckles, “but some things never change. And sometimes, Lord, certain people just don’t belong. They’re out of place. They need to hit the road and never come back.”
Chuck Steak yelled, “Freeze!”
The Gardener dropped his steel, handheld spade and fat, hemp bag. The spade speared the ground. The bag burst open and spilled seeds. The Gardener swiveled around mannequin-like, the plastic coat making weird rubbery noises as he did. With his hands held behind his head, The Gardener frowned and said, “Didn’t see this coming.”
“Me either.” Chuck lowered his firearm, a cannon, a notch. “I never thought I’d yell freeze. This sucks.”
Some time passed. It was awfully boring.
“Well, what’s going on here? My arms are getting tired. Are you arresting me or not?”
“You wanted to blow my head off, didn’t ya?”
The answer was obvious, so Chuck did something more beneficial—he looked around. He nodded at a toolshed located at the yard’s furthermost corner.
“What about it?”
Chuck nodded again.
“I don’t like this. Tell me what you mean.”
Chuck aimed his gun at the shed.
“Ah, I get it.” The Gardener took off in a full sprint. His boots squished with each step, because it had just rained. His boots became hairier with each step, because the homeowner had just mowed the lawn. He reached the shed first and flung the door open. Inside, he found an arsenal of backyard weaponry. The door closed and locked. It had become a changing room of sorts.
Chuck skidded and squished to a halt. He waited patiently, yet eagerly, in a puddle of muck. He had dropped his cannon yards back and bent over to pick up The Gardener’s handheld spade instead. Thus why he finished second. And he would’ve wanted it no other way, for he had previously envisioned this encounter as an epic story which would be handed down throughout the ages from one action lover to the next.
The shed door popped open.
The Gardener stood slumped with a leaf blower slipping from his limp, gloved grip.
“Really?” Chuck said. He looked back over his shoulder and spotted the homeowner crouched and peeking out a second-story window. The homeowner had a cell pressed into the side of her face, and her lips were paused, waiting anxiously to spit out, in great detail, exactly what was about to transpire between the two rivaling forces.
“There’s nothing else in there?” Chuck whelled. Whelled is what occurs when one attempts to yell and whisper at the same time.
The Gardener let the leaf blower drop as he rummaged around for a few more seconds. This time he clutched a chainsaw which lacked an actual chain.
“Whatever,” Chuck said, “just fire it up.” He figured the homeowner wouldn’t know the difference.
But the chainsaw only sputtered.
“It’s outta gas.”
“In addition to murdering people, can you do other stuff, like make noises?”
The Gardener’s chainsaw impression sounded like a ripping fart.
“Well shit,” Chuck noticed the homeowner blabbing away, “quick, grab something and come at me already. And make sure it’s sharp!”
“Got it!” The Gardener hit the grass running and slipped. He lunged forward as if flying. He had a death grip on his choice of weapon, but unfortunately, he had ignored the cardinal rule of keeping all blades face-down. Was it so surprising that a serial killer had chosen to break every rule imaginable? No. But what was surprising, especially to Chuck, was when The Gardener broke the fall with a pitchfork through the face. Close-up, The Gardener was absurdly dead. From a distance, depending on the angle and whether or not the homeowner had any sight impairments, The Gardener could’ve very well still been alive and kickin’.
Chuck took hold of The Gardener’s hanging wrists. He raised them into plain sight. Then he began smacking himself across the face with the dead palms. The pitchfork impalement kept getting in the way, so Chuck used the hands to pluck it free—nothing looked natural—then he palmed the pitchfork and speared it through his own shoulder. Both men collapsed.
This went on for some time.
It played out like a crossover event of Fight Club meets Weekend at Bernie’s.
It ended with Chuck, shirtless, bleeding profusely from the face, driving away from a cornfield on a tractor at 5mph. The cornfield was on fire. Chuck hoped it would explode, but it did no such thing. With the homeowner still blabbing away on the phone, he did the next best thing—he hit the shed head-on—actually, he bumped into it and came to a peaceful stop—and then he flung himself off to complete a half flip before belly-flopping onto the soggy ground.
He peeled his face from the mud, and glancing at the homeowner, gave her a thumb up.