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Desert Assassin
by Don Drewniak

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Desert Assassin

Twenty-one years in the U.S. Army Special Forces and two more years spent as a mercenary in Uganda and the Sudan was enough. Bill Williams then found home in the lightly populated desert area south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. A year of solitude ensued - solitude broken only by occasional shopping trips to Albuquerque and twice-a-week visits to a singularly unique diner - Killer Two's Diner. The peace and quiet of that year ended abruptly with the sighting of a meteor while sitting on his back porch staring out into the desert.

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indie author Don Drewniak
      

When I was in my mid-teens during the late 1950s, I would often see my father, Jan F. Drewniak, sitting at a desk late into the night in our house in Fall River, Massachusetts. On the desk was a collection of pens and pencils, stacks of writing paper and what looked to be two battered books. He alternated between writing furiously, pouring through the two "books" and occasionally sitting for long stretches with his eyes closed. I vividly remember one time when tears were streaming down his cheeks. It was the only time I ever saw him cry. Although I am nor certain of this, I believe the "books" were journals which he had kept years earlier. What I did not realize was that he was writing about his experiences first in Brooklyn, New York, and then in the Berkshires during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, I was too absorbed in high school life to have bothered to ask him what he was writing. Upon completion, the writings were put aside for over thirty years. Several days prior to his death in 1991, he handed me a small, sealed cardboard box and requested that I not open it until he had passed away. I honored the request. When I finally opened the box, I found an envelope with the following written on it, "Please do not open this until you have read the enclosed." Over eight hundred handwritten pages were piled under the envelope. Once I began reading I realized that I was reading a manuscript - the manuscript that had to be the product of all the nights he had spent at his desk four decades earlier. I was stunned and amazed as I turned from page to page. The reading introduced me to a father I had never known. I had neither the skills nor the time when I first read the manuscript to do the editing and research necessary to bring it to the point where it might be ready for publication. As a result it was once again put aside, this time for fourteen years. Having retired and settled in Delaware in 2005, I rediscovered the manuscript tucked away in a plastic storage bin. It was then that I vowed to bring it to print. It took six years of editing along with two trips to the Berkshires to bring the manuscript to the point wherein I believed it was ready for publication. The Kindle edition of The Junk Picker was released in August 2012. Thank goodness I didn't release the paperback edition at the same time. Despite a dozen or so word for word edits prior to Kindle release, I discovered dozens of typos when I first read the "Kindlized" The Junk Picker. Easy to correct Kindle mistakes, virtually impossible to do so with print copies. Lesson learned. A month later, the paperback edition was published. My writing days were over. Or so I thought. Two nights later, I awoke from an incredibly vivid dream at 3:14AM. (I'll never forget the image on the digital clock on the beside table.) In the dream, a male figure was sitting on his back porch staring out into a starlit desert. Beside him was a glass of Merlot and playing in the background was a 50s doo-wop recording, Dreamin' by a group called The Cosmic Rays. (My wine of choice is Merlot and I have a large collection of doo-wop recordings.) During the song, the figure spotted a streak of light in the distance which disappeared after a second or two. Assuming it was a meteor which burned up in the atmosphere, he dismissed the sighting from his thoughts. While he was sitting on the porch several nights later, Dreaming' reshuffled. He recalled that the The Cosmic Rays were fronted by an enigmatic figure who called himself Sun Ra, and claimed to have come to Earth from Saturn. End of dream. Rather than go back to sleep, I scrambled out of bed, dashed to my office and wrote down everything that I could remember of the dream. This was the genesis of my third book, Desert Assassin, which came out via Kindle this past August. While writing Desert Assassin, a two-year project, I took a nine-week break to complete Davey and the Meteorite, a book geared to middle-school students and their grandparents. My latest book, When Baseball Was Baseball, became available via Kindle in early May of this year. Quite by accident, I'm hooked on writing.


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