Don’t touch that dial! This is Lisa Burton Radio. Coming at you with one point twenty-one jigawatts of power. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Rick Meyers. “Welcome to the show, Rick.”
“Hey, Lisa. What’s up?”
“I’m great, thanks. Now Rick, my bio says you are an emancipated seventeen year old. That’s kind of unusual, how did that come to pass?”
“My folks … my dad took my mom to some fancy restaurant in Amarillo last Valentine’s Day. He’d been saving up for months so they could go. I guess he should’ve put new brakes on the car instead. They skidded off the road on their way home in the pouring rain. They were both dead in a ditch before they knew what hit ‘em. The social workers talked about foster care after that, but it ain’t easy to find a spot for a guy my age. Besides, Ed and Sharon, the twins’ folks, promised to look out for me. They’re okay, really. They sort of keep an eye on all of us—me and Mark and Tim—since we don’t have two parents like the twins do.”
“I’m so sorry, Rick. That has to be tough. How are you getting along?”
“I got the crew. Tim and Mark and the twins. We’ve grown up as tight as brothers. Bunked in the same apartment building pretty much forever. Still, there’s rent every month, and food, and the lights to keep on. And cigarettes. At least I don’t have to pay for beer. Tim’s stepdad is a professional boozer, so he gets stuff for the rest of us whenever we want it.
“I was bussing tables at this greasy little diner even before Mom and Dad died. It’s all right. I like the manager, she’s this chubby, middle-aged woman with a booming laugh and a bit of a mustache she’s always trying to get rid of with one home remedy or another. She lets me snag leftovers whenever I feel like it. But after Mom and Dad were gone, I had to get another job at a candy store. The manager there is a pain in the butt. He walks around with this pinched-up look on his face like he smells garbage, and he never takes his eyes off me, like he thinks I’m going to steal him blind. That ain’t my style.”
“Sounds like a tough life, all those odd jobs, and unpaid bills.”
“Yeah, but me and the crew, we have each other. You know, things are never that bad when somebody’s got your back.
“Not that everybody gets along all the time. Me and Tim, we have our moments. Tim likes to call the shots, all of them. But I’ve gotten to be a fairly good size in the past year, and no slouch of a fighter, and lately he hasn’t been too sure he’s ready to take me on. Mark’s kind of laid back, and Bryan’s more interested in tennis than fist fights. But Stace, he’s all mouth. It gets him in a lot of trouble.”
“Why so many fights you guys?”
“Money’s always tight. That tenses everybody up. And it’s hot enough to piss the devil off. That don’t help, either. Still, we may scrap among ourselves a little, but that all goes out the window if somebody else jacks with one of us.
“There’s this girl, Daisy. I met her at a baseball game. Our local high school team was playing the rich kids from the classy private academy across town. We kicked the crap out of ‘em, too. Anyway, Daisy was sitting on the bleachers with a big black and tan German shepherd. It turned out she’s blind. Sharp as a tack, though, there ain’t much she can’t do. And the most knockout smile you ever saw … Tim started messing with her, but I told him to lay off. Still, if someone made a move on her, Tim’d deck the loser as soon as look at him. Any of us would.
“I worry about Daisy, though. The night I met her at the baseball game, there was this fat man watching her. He didn’t get too close. At first I thought he was just a moron who’d never seen a blind chick before and couldn’t get a grip on his curiosity. But he kept eyeballing her. It made me real uneasy. Then another day, when me and Daisy were walking in a park, I saw the same fat man scoping her out as he sat on the fender of a dented green jeep. He drove off before I could ask him what the hell he was gawking at.”
“I think a blind girl would be a sitting duck for a stalker like that, unless her dog can help somehow. I hope she’s being careful.”
“That dog, Captain, watches her real close. But she has a good reason to be careful. She ran away from her foster mother in Amarillo. Her dad was in jail for breaking her leg in two places, and he just had a parole hearing. He’s got a court order to stay away from her, but he might be out on the streets now. She wasn’t about to stay in Amarillo and find out.”
“Oh, Rick, you have to tell her. She has a right to know if someone is following her.”
“Yeah, but I hate to derail our first date. I asked her to this school dance … I know, school dances aren’t usually my thing, but she’s real pretty. I never felt that way about a girl. Sharon—that’s the twins’ mom—and Mark’s grandma, they’re getting her all dressed up. I think they’re as excited about the whole show as Daisy is.”
“Soon though, right?”
“Yeah, soon. Maybe after the dance. I hate to freak her out till I know for sure if her dad is on the prowl … she might decide to leave town … but I care more about her safety than I care about myself … I just wish I had all the facts.”
“Okay, but she still has a right to know.”
“We’ll have a good time tonight. I’ll figure this all out in the morning.”
“I’m sure all of us wish you the best of luck, and that you can rise above your current circumstances. Anything else to leave with our listeners today?”
“Take care of your buddies. They’ll have your back when it counts. Knowing how to patch each other up comes in handy lots of times, not just after fights.”
“You can learn all about Rick, Daisy, and the crew in the book “The Bright Side of Darkness,” by J. E. Pinto. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after I log off the air today.
“Make sure to use those sharing buttons out today. It would really help Jo Elizabeth, and Rick, out today. They’d do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa burton Radio.”
What is a family? For Rick Myers, a despondent seventeen-year-old who has just lost his parents in a car wreck, it’s the four teenage buddies he’s grown up with in a run-down apartment building. Fast with their fists, flip with their mouths, and loyal to a fault, the “crew” is all he has.
At least, he thinks so until he meets Daisy, an intelligent, independent, self-assured blind girl. Her guts in a world where she’s often painfully vulnerable intrigue Rick, and her hopeful outlook inspires him to begin believing in himself.
But when the dark side of Daisy’s past catches up with her, tragedy scatters the crew and severely tests Rick’s resolve to build his promising future. Fortunately, his life is touched by a couple with a pay-it-forward attitude, forged out of their personal struggle with grief and loss. Their support makes all the difference to Rick and eventually, through him, to the ones he holds most dear as they face their own challenges. “The Bright Side of Darkness” is a story of redemption and the ultimate victory that comes from the determination of the human spirit.
Pick up your copy right here.
[J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.
Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.
The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.
You can catch up with Jo Elizabeth Pinto on her Facebook account.