Title: Dispossessed Inc.
Author: Chris H. Stevenson
Genre: Fantasy Time Travel
Even Jimmy Hoffa wouldn’t have believed that the ghost realm could have been unionized.
How can a Victorian prostitute, a ‘30s gangster and a drug-addicted hippy save the world? First, you have travel back in the time loop and save each of them from a traumatic death—a “Death Stop.” Then what? Don’t get killed doing it!
“I have to be honest,” began Remy, “when I say that I’m not in the best psychological shape. I’ve been sitting in a park for the last six hours, trying to come up with an apology for the fight I just had with my wife.”
“My wife and I are sterile. We are considering adoption or fostering a child. It’s that, or we are likely to end up in a paper sack like two cats shredding each other to pieces. Pardon the metaphor, but I’m sure you understand the situation.”
“Have you tried artificial insemination?”
“Sir, our systems are incompatible. So much so, they have declared war on each other. My doctor has advised me that my sperm are dog paddlers and cannot even get out of their own way. My wife, bless her heart, has had so many yeast infections we could open up our own bakery. She was raped when she was…” He caught himself. Too much information too fast. “We’re in the market for a child, to put it bluntly. All I need is an application then I’ll be on my way.” Remy made a move to stand, regretting his confession. This place had more than a few red flags.
“Please remain seated so we can sort this out.”
Remy sank back into his seat, then fanned his face.
Harold cracked his knuckles. “Now, I sympathize with your problem, Mr. Hargitay. I applaud your resolve and determination. But I must warn you that fostering, or adoption is a responsibility that carries great weight. Merely accepting another member into your household is not a ‘happy time’ guarantee. A foster child will not be the answer to your marital problems.”
“I know it’s not a cure,” said Remy. “It’s just frustrating. I can promise you that we are both mature and mentally stable. It’s our dream to welcome a child into our home and provide that love and understanding.” Then he added quickly, “Along with a clean and healthy environment, with a proper education.” If he laid it on any thicker, he would need a trowel.
“Do you believe your wife is capable of a foster care position? It will require a great deal of time, not to mention patience on her part.”
“Mr. Abercrombie, she is very loving, with a very compassionate nature. They are her best personality traits.”
Harold made some notes then consulted a ledger. “You are aware that some of our children may exhibit abnormal behavior due to emotional problems. They are society’s castaways. Sometimes the adjustment phase can last for months. Are you prepared to see the placement through to the end?”
“We’re prepared for whatever sacrifice it takes. Look, I was wondering if I could just have an application to take home.” He rose from his chair again.
“Do you have any strong religious affiliations that would interfere with live-in arrangements? Are you biased or prejudiced toward creed, ethnicity, age or intelligence?”
Remy sat back down. “I respect the beliefs of others and would provide encouragement and support for any of those conditions.”
“Would you consider more than one foster child?”
“I would welcome a gaggle without an eye blink. We have the—”
“Are you gainfully employed?”
Remy crimped his eyes shut. “I make an exceptionally good living as a makeup and special effects artist for Embassy Studios. My wife owns two of the largest astrology and tarot sites on the web, and they are very lucrative. We have a six-bedroom house, a full-acre walled backyard, and all the crafts and hobby paraphernalia one could ask for—all of it stored in a four-car garage that could serve as a playroom. We are ten minutes from an elementary school. Our high school is another five minutes around the corner from it.”
Harold rose and opened one of the large filing cabinets. He pulled out a document. “This is a standard contract and agreement,” he said, handing it to Remy. “Read it carefully, especially the fine print, waivers, conditions, penalties and guarantees. You can pre-sign the checked boxes if you’d like.”
Remy took the document, a sheaf of a dozen, dog-eared pages. He looked up at the manager. “Shouldn’t my wife be present to make a decision like this? How do you know that I’m in the right frame of mind?”
“Mr. Hargitay…Remy…my evaluation of you has nothing to do with your present state or appearance. We all suffer through a little emotional stress now and then. We are, after all, human.”
Remy leaned back in his chair, loosening his collar. He held the document at arm’s length, adjusted his focus and read. He noticed the right-hand margin held “yes” and “no” check boxes. Harold handed him a ballpoint pen. He took it, wondering if it was an invitation to fill out the form now.
“No time like the present,” said Harold, fixing him with a pleasant smile. “Don’t allow doubts to interfere with your true feelings. Consider it a preliminary survey. You don’t need to finalize the document.”
Remy fastened his eyes on the manager of the D.I. Foster Care and Adoption Agency and nodded. In response, Harold laced his hands, returning a wide smile.
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Why is this book special? I believe the concept is quite unique in that an ordinary citizen becomes drafted into an organization to revisit the past lives of three people who died under traumatic and untimely circumstances—those three people, had they lived, would have changed history of the world for the better. The enlistee must travel back in time and prevent the deaths of these unlikely and strange individuals in order to finalize an adoption that he and his wife so desperately want. Only he’s been blackmailed into to performing these “death stop” interventions, and his travels in time put his life on the line more than once, as well as his wife who accompanies him. The structure of the book is akin to three novellas in one book, a story for each intervention.
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Chris H. Stevenson, (pen name, Christy J. Breedlove) originally born in California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009. His occupations have included newspaper editor/reporter, astronomer, federal police officer, housecleaner and part time surfer. He has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today he writes in his favorite genre, Young Adult, but has published in multiple genres and categories. He was a finalist in the L. Ron. Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and took the first place grand prize in the Entranced writing contest for The Girl They Sold to the Moon. Other awards include YA book of the Year in the N.N. Light Novel Writing Contest, and bronze medal for YA horror in the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards Contest.
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