Michael J. Molloy
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|An act of bravery can elevate one to
superhero status. But it will not erase a troubled past.
Career minor league baseball announcer Jim Monahan saves an
elderly man from potentially drowning. His local media story
goes viral on the internet and is snatched up by national
television. It catches the eyes and ears of his New York-based
agent, who convinces Jim that the courageous act could put him
front and center for a major league announcing opening. Yet
despite his heroics, Jim still can’t wash away a painful divorce
caused by his unfaithful ex-wife, and repair his strained
relationship with his wayward daughter, Madison. Jim grows
despondent. But then an attractive and kind-hearted woman named
Anne Finley walks into his life. She restores Jim's faith in
love and aids him in reconnecting with Madison.
Word Count: 85363
Pages to Print: 289
File Format: PDF
Order The Diamond Man in Print (ISBN: 978-1-61950-228-4) Today
||College professor Roger Lavoie is found not guilty by a jury
of crimes he allegedly committed because of reasonable doubt.
More than twenty years pass until an eerily similar string of
events unfold. Lavoie becomes the prime suspect. Will the police
stop him in time before his madness deepens?
Word Count: 116200
Pages to Print: 403
File Format: PDF
Sadistic Pattern in Print
TODAY! (ISBN: 978-1-61950-275-8)
Hours after the late August game and its broadcast, Diamond Jim
Monahan maneuvered his Honda Civic through Richmond’s
waterlogged streets. The spirits of the play-by-play announcer
of the Richmond Flying Squirrels had been flattened like a
pancake. After all, the team had kowtowed to the hated rival
Bowie Baysox, 6-5—thanks to the play where the visitors’ Lamont
McGill uncoiled like a cobra in the top of the ninth inning and
jacked the pill until it was a blip off the radar past the left
field fence. The loss eliminated the Squirrels from postseason
consideration, thus rendering the team’s upcoming season-ending
series that weekend in Reading moot. The severe thunderstorm the
forecasters had predicted was a fitting end to the evening’s
proceedings. Mother Nature was venting her anger as she wept
profusely for the saddened city.
The rain, which began shortly before the conclusion of Jim’s
post-game radio show, came down in sheets. The upcoming trip to
Reading was the farthest thing from Jim’s mind. Making it home
through the torrential downpour became a struggle for survival.
As fast as the windshield wipers swept away a collection of
water, another waterfall soon followed. Jim might as well have
been driving blindfolded. He wanted nothing less than to curl up
in his bed at his apartment.
Inching along Jennie Scher Road, Jim suddenly noticed the rear
lights of another vehicle off the side of the road below
street-level. His initial reaction was to press past and head
for home. But something peculiar about these rear lights peaked
his curiosity. Had a fellow motorist’s vehicle swerved off the
slick road into Gillies Creek? Compelled by his own burning
desire to know, Jim opted to forego the need to sleep.
“Oh, my God. I wonder if anyone is hurt down there.”
Parking his Civic in a safe spot, Jim cautiously made his way
down the incline. The rain continued to pelt him unmercifully, a
thousand needles stinging his face. He wasn’t the least bit
concerned about getting drenched. Someone was in dire need of
assistance, and that was all that mattered.
He stopped in his tracks when he saw the vehicle, a late model
Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle, its front wheels almost
totally submerged in the rising waters of the creek. The rest of
the vehicle would soon fall in. If someone were still alive in
the Explorer, he’d have to act fast.
The driving rain made it difficult for him to see. Through
squinted eyes, Jim noticed a figure in the driver’s seat. He
tapped the window with his knuckles to get the attention of the
individual, but there was no response. He tried to open the
driver’s side door, but soon discovered it was locked. There was
only one thing left to do: he had to break the window.
Time was critical; he frantically looked around for a sizable
rock. He spotted one the size of a football and hoisted it. But
before he struck the window, Jim yelled, “Hey in there! I’m
going to smash the window! See if you can move away or at least
turn your head away!”
The shadowy figure nodded and moved his head to the side.
With adrenalin pumping throughout his body, Jim heaved the heavy
stone. The impact cracked the glass in the pattern of a spider’s
web. Jim hit again and again, before the window shattered and he
could reach inside to unlock the door. The third attempt was the
He extended his left arm through the narrow middle opening of
the broken pane. As he did, he nicked his forearm on one of the
jagged edges. Ouch! He winced in pain, but pressed on in search
of the button. Five seconds later he fingered what he believed
was the door lock. When he pressed it, a sudden click sounded.
Relief enveloped him, but the task was far from over.
After delicately pulling out his arm to avoid another cut, Jim
opened the door from the outside. Just then he heard an eerie
noise from the SUV, signaling it was another step closer to
being totally submerged. The clock was ticking.
Jim focused on the object of the task: an elderly man,
incoherent save for a few moans. The man slowly moved his head
side to side. His wailing grew louder, almost ear-splitting.
“Hey, mister!” Jim yelled. “C’mon! You’ve got to get of here!
This truck’s about to fall into the creek!”
“I can’t move,” the man groaned. “I think I broke my leg.”
“You can’t stay here! I’ve got to get you out!”
“No! No! Leave me alone! I’ll be all right.”
“Like hell you will!”
Jim quickly released the man’s seatbelt. The baseball announcer
was about to position his arms around the back and behind the
knees of the man when he heard another creak. The vehicle was
yet another inch closer to slipping into the waterway.
Water rapidly filled the floor of the vehicle. There was no room
for error. Jim instructed the old man to grab him around the
neck. Jim fought to lift the man out. After he succeeded in
doing so, he struggled up the embankment with the man in his
arms. He managed to go only six steps before he heard a very
loud sound behind him. He turned his head and saw the Ford
Explorer sinking completely into the creek. Seconds later, only
the top of the vehicle stood above the water. Diamond Jim
Monahan had saved the old man’s life—but there was no time for
celebration. Jim continued to transport the old man until both
of them managed to reach street-level.
The announcer safely guided the injured man into the backseat of
his Civic. Seconds were precious. Despite the teeming rain, he
used his cell phone to contact 911 and request an ambulance.
When he was finished on the phone, he noticed the old man
reaching for him with his right hand. Jim clasped it as a
handshake, as if he were greeting an old friend. Still writhing
in pain, the old man looked at Jim through tired but grateful
“Thank you,” the man quietly told Jim.
Jim smiled softly in reply. He shut the door so that the man
would be out of the torrential downpour, got into the driver’s
seat and closed the door behind him to shelter himself from the
rain. His clothes were soaked, but Jim wanted only to relax all
of his taut muscles and be swallowed up by the bucket seat. The
wait was now on for the emergency vehicle’s arrival.
The Diamond Man
The bearded man was sweating bullets. He could feel every muscle
in his body tighten. His throat was constricting as he asked the
gentleman sitting next to him if he could drink the water in the
other man’s glass. The second man gave his blessing to do so.
His hand was trembling as perspiration continued to run from the
pores of his skin. The bearded man took measured, small sips,
but he was desperate in his intake, and it seemed if a full
pitcher of ice water were in front of him, he’d guzzle it down.
Conserving his consumption with the limited amount of water
before him was prudent. He reached for the knot in his necktie
and began to loosen it in order to unbutton the top of his white
Opposite the man sat a smartly dressed woman. She was behind a
long desk, similar to the one where the bearded man and his
water angel had stationed themselves. Thanks to an abundant
amount of hairspray, the dyed dark red strands of her hair held
together in place as if they were molded in plastic. Caked-on
makeup failed to camouflage her age, the dead giveaway being the
thick reading glasses she was wearing to peruse the sheaves of
paper before her. Her appearance was authoritative as she
continued to gloss over page after page.
In front of them all was an elevated wooden structure that
dominated the room, with intricate and ornate designs carved
along the top. Behind it, sitting like a queen was a black-robed
woman, whose silvery blonde hairstyle could have allowed her to
pass as a sister to the other woman. She was busy scribbling
down a few esoteric notes, much like a finals contestant on
Sitting in front of the structure was a young, plain-looking
woman wearing a dowdy ensemble. She was positioned in front of a
device that looked slightly bigger than a desk phone and had
various levers laid out in an arrangement perfectly understood
by the woman, but not by a layman.
A formidable, tall man, without a trace of hair atop his head,
walked into the room from a side door. He wore a neatly pressed
white shirt, adorned with a gold metal badge over his left
breast and a patch in the form of a shield sewn on his upper
right sleeve. Black pants, with shoes and socks to match,
completed his ensemble. The man possessed a holstered firearm on
his right hip, an indication that he was someone to be reckoned
Marching behind were thirteen individuals of mixed race,
ethnicity, age and gender—a harmonious hodgepodge of humanity.
Each person in cadence assumed his or her pre-assigned chair.
Once all were settled, the bald man orated.
“All parties are present, Your Honor. All jurors are assembled,
including the lone alternate.”
“Very well,” the silvery blonde woman responded matter-of-factly
in her role as judge. Gathering a few sheets of paper from in
front of her, she addressed the jury.
“Mister Foreman, has the jury reached a verdict?”
A man with thinning white hair rose from the group. He seemed
better suited to play checkers with friends at a senior home
with his red-and-black plaid flannel shirt and khaki trousers.
But the man was wise in his years, no doubt the reason he’d been
elected as the spokesman. He cleared his throat for all to hear.
“Yes, we have, Your Honor,” the foreman replied.
“What say you?”
“In the case of the People of Rhode Island versus Roger Lavoie
of murder in the first degree of Darren Haber, we find the
defendant not guilty.”
A hush of astonishment silenced the room. The bearded man, Roger
Lavoie, closed his eyes and released a great sigh of relief. He
leaned back in his chair as the burden of such an enormous crime
was lifted off his shoulders. The man sitting next to him,
attorney Vance Beckwith, slapped his meaty right hand on Roger’s
left shoulder in a show of victory. Roger thanked his hired suit
for exonerating him.
At the other table, assistant district attorney Claire Torelli
pounded the oak top with a thud that resounded throughout the
room. If one were next to her, one could detect the mumbling of
an expletive from her mouth. Behind closed doors, Claire had
told associates and friends alike that the case was airtight.
Apparently the jurors didn’t get the message.
A woman from the back of the gallery bolted up from her seat
upon hearing the verdict. She screamed, “No! You fucking
murderer! You killed my brother!” The twenties-something woman
then turned to the members of the jury with tears streaming down
her face. “How could you! How could you let him get away with
this?” Judge Sylvia McCormack banged her gavel several times.
“That’s enough, Mrs. Doyle! I will not tolerate such behavior in
my courtroom!” Judge McCormack motioned for a few of the court
officers to physically remove the distraught young woman. Chloe
Haber-Doyle continued to kick and scream as she was manhandled
by the guards. When she was safely escorted out of the
courtroom, Judge McCormack gestured for the foreman to continue.
“In the case of the People of Rhode Island versus Roger Lavoie
of aggravated assault, harassment and torment of Margaret
Lavoie, we find the defendant not guilty.”
Claire flung her arms into the air as if looking for divine
intervention. She then glared at the jury and shook her head in
disgust. Unlike Chloe, Claire had more emotional restraint. But
that was due in part to her use of proper protocol and
comportment as a professional. But she was just as livid as
Chloe on both counts.
Meanwhile, Roger and Vance were glad-handing each other at
evading the second charge. His ordeal with the courts was over.
But there was yet another woman who sat in the gallery. She was
fairly attractive, her age falling somewhere between that of
Chloe and Roger. When the second verdict was announced, she
tilted her head upward. Her emotionless countenance didn’t
change, except for the slight rise of her eyebrows. Siobhan
O’Mara then closed her eyes and folded her hands on her lap. She
sat there unwavering while learning that her tormented sister
Margaret was going to be taking up space in a mental institution
for doctors and psychiatrists to find a way to restore her
sanity. Unlike the frantic Chloe, Siobhan calmly rose from her
seat and exited through the rear of the courtroom. One of the
guards politely opened a door facilitating her egress. Siobhan
didn’t speak. She simply nodded at him as a token of her
appreciation at the ability to leave without touching the doors.
“This case has now ended,” Judge McCormack affirmed. “The
defendant is free to leave. The state thanks the jury for their
services.” And with one swift bang of the gavel, the lead court
officer instructed everyone present to stand as the adjudicator
retreated to her chambers with her entourage. Claire quickly
gathered the papers on her desk and proceeded to march after
Judge McCormack, perhaps to vent her own disgust privately, not
only on how the verdict was reached, but also on the allowed
elements that may have swayed the jurors’ decision.
Roger and Vance engaged in another exchange of hearty
“Thanks, Vance. You were brilliant!”
“That and the fact that Torelli didn’t have all her ducks lined
“Please have your office bill me for whatever I still owe you.”
As Vance nodded in consent, stuffing papers into his attaché
case, Roger looked back at the departing members of the gallery.
He was keenly interested in one particular individual. His eyes
darted back and forth as if watching a heated tennis match, but
the object of his search appeared to have already left. Roger
sighed briefly and shrugged his shoulders.
Vance had finished packing up his gear. He grabbed Roger by the
arm and advised his client to walk with him as they left the
courthouse. “There’s an army of newspaper, radio and TV
journalists out there, Roger, including CNN. You’ll want me by
your side to dodge the barrage of questions you’re going to
Roger wasn’t going to question his lawyer; the legal beagle’s
advice made a heck of a lot of sense. Both men headed toward a
private side door. But before he was about to exit, Roger took
one more glance at the back of the courtroom. Now only the
officers and two or three other people remained. But not the one
Roger sought. Frustrated but unbowed, Roger vacated the scene.
Roger Lavoie sprang up from his bed. The look of fright was
etched upon his face.
“I did not kill Darren Haber!” Roger shouted while sitting up.
Roger continued to tremble. It had been twenty years since the
trial, but the ordeal continued to haunt him like a menacing
specter. His heart was racing and his gasps of terror were
almost in step with his pulmonary beat. Finally his wife Beth
woke out of her sleep after the commotion Roger had created. She
turned on the light atop an adjacent nightstand. Beth had to
snap Lavoie out of it or she feared she would need to call 911
to prevent a heart attack.
Beth’s cries finally reached Roger, as the fifty-eight-year-old
Lavoie came to his senses. He suddenly looked around his bedroom
as though he didn’t recognize it. With fear still written across
his face, Roger turned to Beth. It took him a few seconds, but
he was finally able to identify her, even without his glasses.
“I,” Roger spurted, “I’m sorry, Beth. I . . . I must have had a
terrible nightmare. I’m sorry if I disturbed you.”
When she attempted to comfort Roger, Beth noticed that his
pajama top was soaked, presumably from perspiration. She quickly
removed her arms and began to question her husband on the reason
for his excessive sweating.
“I remember about a month ago you had a similar bad dream,” Beth
said. “You almost threw me off the bed.”
Roger’s head was still reeling. He didn’t know what to make of
it himself. He was both worried and embarrassed by this latest
episode. He rose from his side of the bed and headed to the
bedroom window. He looked out at the quiet street below. The
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, suburb of Central Falls was silent on
this chilly autumn evening.
Beth was growing concerned over her husband’s actions. She
immediately got up and approached Roger from behind, gently
placing her hands over Roger’s broad shoulders. She wanted so to
allay his fears and nightmares.
“Maybe you ought to see that psychoanalyst Francine MacKenzie
suggested last week,” Beth began. “What was his name? Oh, I
know. It was Dr. Mort Sonnenstein.”
Roger gave his wife a hard look. He couldn’t believe Beth would
suggest he see a shrink. And he couldn’t believe she would
actually heed the recommendation of that flighty Francine. Roger
would only say that he would give it some thought.
The bearded university professor walked out of the room and
proceeded down the short hall to the bathroom. He opened the
medicine cabinet and reached for a bottle of low-dose aspirin.
Expending a little energy to open the confounded vial, Roger
plopped a pill into the palm of his left hand. He dropped the
aspirin into his mouth and then filled a paper cup with water
from the sink to wash down the medicine. After swallowing the
pill, Roger then took a long look at himself in the medicine
cabinet mirror. He still had visions of the nightmare that woke
him up etched in his brain. Roger closed his eyes as to make the
remnants of the frightening dream go away, but when he
eventually opened them, he could still see the disturbing images
that caused him to yell in his sleep.
Roger spent just a minute looking at himself, but for Beth it
seemed like an eternity. She became concerned over the
well-being of her husband, and so she walked to the bathroom to
join him. She could see that Roger was oblivious to her
presence. He continued to stare into the mirror. Beth came up
from behind and hugged Roger, pressing the side of her face
against the top of Roger’s back to show she cared for him.
Finally Roger came to realize that Beth was there and
acknowledged her by gently stroking one of her hands. He then
turned to face his wife. Beth was smiling at him. But a closer
look into her eyes and it appeared that Beth was about to cry.
“Roger,” Beth began pleading, “why don’t you seek out
“What good is it?” Roger countered. “Do you think I really need
to discuss my personal life with some . . . some stranger?”
“Oh, come now, you make it sound as though Sonnenstein is some
sort of degenerate. God forbid, Roger, but if you suddenly
became severely ill or even badly injured in an accident, you’d
wind up seeing a doctor in the emergency ward. You’d have never
met the doctor before, yet you would have confidence he was
going to help you. Seeing Sonnenstein isn’t all that different.
He could help you get over these nightmares you’ve been having.
Maybe there’s something embedded in your subconscious that needs
to be brought to the forefront. That’s where Sonnenstein comes
Roger finally conceded and confirmed that he would make an
appointment to visit Dr. Sonnenstein. He realized that Beth
didn’t bring up specifically what Roger had shouted, otherwise
she would have wanted to know who Darren Haber was and why Roger
stressed that he didn’t murder him. Instead, Roger had to create
a clever diversion for his wife. He brought up his son Mark and
mentioned that he hoped Mark could teach at the same university
he did, although in a different field of study. Beth was fully
aware of this and assured Roger that Mark would be fine
regardless of where he taught, once again pressing for him to
get the help he needed to calm his anxiety. Roger offered a
smile and patted Beth’s right hand to assure her he would. Beth
was satisfied with his affirmative gesture, so she smiled in
return and proceeded back to the bedroom.
Beth was about to exit the bathroom completely, but she sensed
that Roger was not trailing her. When she turned back toward her
husband, who was still hunched over the sink, Beth asked Roger
to come with her.
“I’ll be right there, dear,” Roger told her.
Beth smiled at Roger’s response, but there was still that small
element of doubt etched across her face that Roger’s answer
didn’t dispel. Beth didn’t see the need to beat a dead horse any
further, so she left the bathroom.
Knowing he was alone, Roger studied his image in the medicine
cabinet mirror. I almost slipped, he thought to himself. The
ugly past that Roger didn’t want to dredge up was relentless.
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