Poohsticks Bridge by The Birch Twins Book Tour and Giveaway :)
by The Birch Twins
Genre: Romantic Fiction
Beginning as a childhood game, Poohsticks Bridge tells the sweet story of a friendship between two children that, through the years, blossoms into adult love with an unbreakable bond and faith in one another. John and Melissa are tested throughout their lives by hardships, pain, and separation, yet their love and determination to live life together to its fullest never falters. In today’s culture of having everything, this couple shows us how a few, simple things can lead to a satisfying and fulfilling life.
Poignant in the extreme, you’ll want to keep the tissues nearby. These two will make you laugh, cry, and fall in love … with life and with them.
After being tricked by his brother, John returns.
The Mason Corp offices were grander these days. Grandpa’s money had obviously bought Ed Mason Junior a swanky new base from which to run his father’s company. All smoked glass and brushed steel. The girl on the desk had been checking her hair, which was slicked back, and her crisp suit when he’d walked in. His clothes were old, and looked like they belonged on a ranch hand, but this guy wasn’t a ranch hand. Noting the vague resemblance to her boss, Ed Junior, she watched the darkness swirl around in the man’s deep brown eyes as he walked straight towards her. “Can I help you, Mr …errr….” She began, as he came to the desk. “No,” he said ignoring her veiled question regards his name. “No you can’t. Direct me to Mr Mason’s office please, if you will.” She shook her head politely. “I’m so sorry,” she said sympathetically. “Mr Mason isn’t taking calls without an appointment this afternoon.” “Please call him,” the man said quietly. “And tell him that a man from Mexico is here to see him. It’s most urgent.” The girl nodded, and John listened as she made the call. “He’s standing right here,” she whispered into the handset. “I can’t, he’s right here.” “Edward,” John shouted. “Your brother is here. Time for a family reunion. Should I just come up?” The girl put the receiver down. “He says to go on up,” she said nervously. “20th floor.” He bowed his head in her direction. “Thank you, Olivia,” he said noting her name tag. She sighed with relief as he left the entrance foyer. Olivia had heard there’d been a feud between the two brothers, and that the elder brother was a drug dealer and a fugitive or something. She wondered whether she should call the police. Better not get involved, she thought. For Ed Mason Junior, the day had started so damn well. He’d taken over another trucking company, and taken on the staff (at a much-reduced wage of course) and over the course of the morning, had made more money for himself and his father. Things were going great. He and Lizzy were enjoying their marriage, and their life of opulence, and dad had even said that he might be able to get him a job in the capital. Maybe even President someday, he’d joked. Ed Junior hadn’t thought of his half-brother in a long time. Buried him in Mexico somewhere. Wasn’t so fucking superior now, was he. Now the rightful son had the inheritance. It had been a shame that dirty conniving bitch of a girlfriend hadn’t gotten longer in jail, but that couldn’t be helped. And then THAT call. He’d hoped that the bastard would get killed in South America, but he hadn’t. Ed Junior steeled himself as his brother came up the stairs suddenly feeling trapped up here on the 20th floor penthouse office. The door opened, and he walked in. He looked dirty and dangerous. More dangerous than he’d looked when he had suits and nice clothes. He looked like a gangster now. “Brother,” John said holding his arms open. “It’s wonderful to see you.” “It is,” said Ed nervously, remaining seated.
“After all you did for me?” John said, still holding open his arms. “I owe you my life.”
Ed thought fast, and nervously. Could the guy be so dumb he didn’t know he’d been set up. He stood and went to return his brother’s embrace. They held each other for a second, then he looked directly and deeply into his brother’s dark angry eyes. No. he wasn’t so dumb. “Now,” John said releasing his brother. “Here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re gonna get my wonderful father on the phone. He’s going to sign the house and the company over to me. Right now.” “What?” said Ed Junior, smiling somewhat. “Mexico has done something with your brain, brother?” John held up his hand. “We haven’t much time. Its 1:30 now, and I arranged for the police to come down here at 1:45, so we have to be fast.” “Cops?” said Ed nervously. “What are we doing with cops? You know they’re still after you.” John shook his head. “No,” he said decisively. “No they’re not. I checked. Or at least a Mexican acquaintance of mine checked for me. No brother, the police are here to talk to you. But that’s later. First, get my dad on the phone. Tell him to sign the old Belle Starr house over to me, and the CEO job that I had before.” “But that’s my job now,” replied Ed. “Not for long,” said John. “Please call dad. You haven’t much time.”
”Fine,” sighed Ed, speed-dialing the number. His father’s gruff voice came over the speaker. “Dad…,” ED Junior began. He was cut off. “Hi, daddy”, said John, sounding like a cat that about to kill a canary, “guess who’s home” “Son”, the voice came curtly, “I didn’t know you were home. I…that is…we…” “Save it, daddy dearest,” replied John. “Here’s what’s gonna happen. First, you’re gonna sign the house over to me: land, deeds, everything.” “Impossible,” his father’s voice came. “We’ve sold it for demolition. You couldn’t afford to match their price, and I can’t just give it away.” John sighed.
“The second thing,” he continued. “After you’ve given me the house, is the CEO job here. You’re gonna give me that back.” Ed Junior laughed. “Just one problem,” he laughed slightly. “I’m still here.” John looked at his watch. “1:30,” he mused. “Yeah, for about fifteen minutes. So, dad, in about a quarter of an hour, there’s gonna be a vacancy in the boss’s seat right here. I figured I did pretty good before, so…” “John,” came the gruff voice. “The house is out of the question. But now you’re home, why don’t I fly over, and we’ll talk. We’ll talk and find you something.” “Here’s the thing, daddy dearest,” answered John. “Point one. The detective I hired to find Jake located his car. Turns out it was covered in shit from that quarry. Now, he tells me that you sold the car two days after Jake took off, while we still thought he might come back.” John’s dad sighed loudly into the phone. “It’s not what you think,” he said angrily. “And if this is blackmail, then you know you haven’t enough to prove anything.” “I know,” countered John. “I know that. It’s just…you know, what with you being involved in politics and all, mud has a nasty habit of sticking. Plus, there’s the second thing…” “Go on,” said the voice, quieter now.
“It’s a colt pistol,” came back John. “Silver, nice piece. Registered to you, I believe.”
“You little bastard,” the voice said. “I lost that eight years ago.” “As I remember,” laughed John. “You didn’t report it missing. Turns out that two days before it went missing, two drug dealers were shot to death behind your eldest son’s school with a weapon matching the description of yours. Be a shame of that weapon turns up in the hand of the cops, wouldn’t it. Like I said before, there’s hardly enough to send you to jail, but…there’s that mud again, sticking to that nice shiny grey suit and ruining a political career.” “John, listen,” came the voice. “Time for talking is over,” John said harshly. “I’ve had three years sitting in the dirt in Mexico to think this through. I’m cross with you, Ed. And I’m through with both you and mom. Give me the house and make me CEO again. I’ll make you money like a good dutiful son and, as a bonus, I’ll keep fucking quiet about all your backroom underhand shit.” “You know nothing, you ungrateful little …” “I know enough,” laughed John looking at his watch. 1:34. “Now let’s wrap this. You send me a signed document to the effect…fax a copy over right now. Then put the original in the post and I’ll learn to keep my mouth shut. Maybe I’ll send you a nice silver Colt pistol for Christmas.” “John, don’t hurt him…,” came the voice of his father. “Relax,” laughed John. “Your golden son is safe. He’s gonna be real safe. Just relax.” John cut the connection and the line went dead. “You’re crazy,” said Ed Junior, shaking his head in fear. “You can’t blackmail dad.” “Brother,” said John, picking up a fresh fax off the machine. “Turns out I can. You know what though…three years sitting in the dirt in a piece of shit farmhouse tends to make a guy sort out his priorities. You know what? I missed rain? Can you believe that? Fucking rain? I never had a dry day all my childhood life at Belle Starr, and there I am sitting in the dirt crying because I forget what it feels like to have rain on my tongue? Can you figure it?” Ed Junior shook his head and watched his brother move around the side of him. He read the fax copy. “I guess dad think more of his political career than he does you,” he said showing him the fax. “You’re in my seat.”
“You won’t get…” “We have about seven minutes left,” he said looking at his watch. 1:37. “Maybe eight, depends.” “What the fuck are you gonna do?” Ed Junior said nervously. “Come on, we can work together. You screwed the old man, he deserved it for the shit he put you through. You and me, brothers. Together, back to back.” “We’re gonna sit down,” said john, sitting in the visitor’s seat. “It’s ok, stay right there in my seat, I don’t mind. I’m gonna tell you a story.” “John I…” broke in Ed Junior. His brother held up his hand.
“We have six minutes for me to tell this story,” John said. “Now…if you keep interrupting me, then it’s gonna take longer, I’m gonna have to keep stopping and starting, and it’s gonna get all disjointed and ruin things, ya know? So do me a favour…keep your pecker closed. Let me tell the story. If there’s time, we’ll have a question and answer later.”
“John, please,” pleaded his brother. “I don’t wanna die.” John shook his head. “Me neither,” he laughed. “I think we’re both too young. Anyway, |I promised Dad. Like I said, I’m telling a story.” Ed Junior was quiet, and his mind raced as he wondered how to get away from his obviously lunatic brother. He had the money, sure, lots and lots of it. But it wasn’t worth this. His elder brother had a murderous look in his eyes. And he’d taken Dad down without even thinking about it. This guy wasn’t the guy they’d sent to Mexico to be rid of him for a while, this guy was someone who’d learned how to handle the world, someone dangerous. “We begin years ago. A nice young man – let’s call him John - and a girl: every story needs a girl. Let’s call her…oh I don’t know…let’s call her Melissa.”
“Please,” Ed Junior broke in. “What happened was…unfortunate… but…” John held up his hand. “What did I just say?” he said looking annoyed. “Let me tell the story, for fucks sake. Anyway, John and Melissa were friends. Good friends. Best friends. Later on, they fell in love, but not before they learned one thing. They were stronger together. There’s a proverb ‘no man is an island,’ and you know fucking what? It’s true. John and Melisa figured out that, if they stuck together, nobody could hurt them. The knights in medieval times figured this out first. If they fought back to back, they were safe: if they split up, they were dead. So, back to our heroes. People tried to split them up. John’s father tried to split them up and…you know what?” John paused for effect. “You know what?” he continued. “It cost him. Cost him his son, and his son’s respect. And the father knew, deep down, that by treating his son badly, and forcing his son to fight for himself, that he’d taken away a part of his son’s humanity, part of his gentleness, for in the future, the son…John…would be hard against the world. But the worst sin was committed against our hero and heroine by John’s brother.” John looked at his watch. 1:43. “John,” began Ed Junior. “I…” His elder brother ignored him and continued. “Not only did the brother try to take Melissa away and put her somewhere that she could never be found, when she was away, she got hurt. Hurt badly. Now…the hero of our story knew that he could find her wherever she was, but to hurt her…to cause her pain and suffering. That was inexcusable.” “I had nothing to do with her being in jail,” he began. “There’s nothing you can prove…” “Be quiet,” ordered his brother standing up, ”You had her put in prison. You set her up. For money that I was due and that you wanted. Truth be known, all I ever wanted was her. If you wanted Grandpa’s money so bad, you could have had it if you’d have asked. We could have run dad’s firm together. Done up the house like brothers. I’m ashamed of you.” Ed Junior was silent, and he watched for John’s hand going for the gun in his coat, but there was no movement, except from the elevator outside. “Anyway,” John continued, hearing the noise, “the story concludes. The hero’s brother, having chosen illicit wealth over love, realises too late that love is the most powerful emotion of them all, stronger than either money, power or any amount of wealth. I need you to realise what’s important in life, Ed. I really do. That’s why I called the police, and gave them the tape yesterday.” John opened the door and several police officers walked in, straight to Ed Mason Junior. “Mr Mason,” the sergeant began. ”I have a warrant here for your arrest. You have the right to remain silent…” Downstairs, Olivia waited a long time. What a day. What a job. Did she even still have a job? Her CEO and boss dragged off in handcuffs by police, and his elder brother, who looked like a cross between a gangster and a hobo had been upstairs alone for a half hour. Then the buzzer rang. It was the CEO’s office. “Olivia,” the sharp voice came. “Come up here, please.” This was it then. The end of a good job. Fired. She wondered what Ed Mason Junior had been doing to get hauled off by the police. She’d always thought the young man was a little smarmy and creepy, but this new guy was just plain scary. She went upstairs and knocked on the walnut door.
“Come in.” She peeped around the door. “Mr, err…Mr Mason, sir.” “Come in, come in,” he replied. He was sitting in her boss’s seat, looking through files on the desk. “Olivia, right?” he said, pointing at her with a smile on his face. She nodded. “OK,” he replied. “here’s the thing. My brother has stepped down from his…err…post. I’m in charge now. I need a PA that I can trust. I don’t need a stupid girl that’s gonna run her mouth to her boyfriend, or sell me down the river, I don’t need some bimbo who’s gonna flash her tits at me, I need professionalism, respect, and integrity. Can you give me that, Olivia?”
“Of course, sir,” she said, nodding. A promotion!! “One more thing,” he said. “There’s probably a lot of guys like me gonna come knocking on my door, trying to get to me. I don’t have time to throw them all out of the window. I’m gonna need you to toughen up a little. If you tell them they aren’t comin up here to see me, I want you to mean it. You got me?” Ye sir,” she said. “I got you. You won’t regret it.” He nodded.
I write under the name “The Birch Twins.” Helen, my twin, didn’t live to see life, and so I write for her. I’m a full time poverty stricken doll artist who took to writing as I seemed to spend more time writing out little back stories for the characters I created. My first book The Life of LOL was written in five weeks, and was about gangsters, grifters and drifters. Lots of cartoon slapstick violence mixed with a serious message.
Poohsticks Bridge, the new novel, shows my twin’s voice at is strongest as it tells the story of a little boy who begins to grow up lonely and alone, until he meets a little girl. It’s a glimpse of a life that Helen and I could have had together. She writes through me, I can feel her presence and hear her voice. Her tone is often wistful, low on movement, mature and often quiet, while I am brash and loud and full of silly car chases and boyhood dreams of rockets to the moon. We have the perfect writing partnership.
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When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was about eleven when we first did creative writing in school. I spent far too long on my little scifi story, which was basically a rip-off of Star Wars. But I loved doing it, and instead of simply watching the action, or reading it, the characters did and said what I wanted them to do. That’s a lot of power to give an eleven year old kid with an imagination. Shortly after, I bought a utility for my tiny computer that allowed me to write and create text based adventure games. I made hundreds of them and learned to create worlds, and characters and lost myself in the different places in my mind. I think that was the first moment I realized that I liked to write, instead of watch or play
Do you have a favorite movie?
Oh, I have several. I’ve a soft spot for Convoy, and I love the original three Star wars movies
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
The life of Lol possibly. A badass female bandit and grifter. I can’t imagine why it isn’t a movie yet?
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My mascot and Facebook avatar has for many years been Natalie, a little wheelchair bound bald doll in a straightjacket I made years ago. Chosen because, despite her insanity, she exists as a beacon of calm for all those around her. And despite my own obvious borderline insanity, I’m still the most stable dependable person in my house. In a way, I became Natalie. Frequently seen in her own comic strips on The Birch Twins page and occasional as the avatar picture
What inspired you to write this book?
My relationship with my twin sister, Helen, and what life would have been like with her.
What can we expect from you in the future?
A sequel to Poohsticks Bridge entitled Tales from Belle-Starr House is being prepared, as is a new comic book entitled The Life of Tim, which is centered around a neurotic, suicidal office worker. I publish regular shorts and poems on The Birch Twins Facebook page
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Hundreds and hundreds. Every side character has their own story, some which will be told, some which might never be. The one with the biggest is Maddisen, the lawyer who appears in both books. From The Life of Lol (my first book), Bobbie-May Moses appears as “a hillbilly girl” in a gas station for one tiny scene, and yet her tale of abuse, rape and murder will be the main plotline in a planned sequel to The Life of Lol
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