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Friday the 13th Series

When people hear Friday The 13 they immediately think 80’s slasher exploitation movies; a madman with a machete chasing girls in crop tops.

And that’s what we thought when we were approached about reimagining the series of movies into a televisions show.  

And yes, – we will have blood and violence and the occasional crop top, but what makes us passionate about writing this pilot is elevating F-13 into something people DON’T EXPECT.

A series with intelligence, humor, weird surprises, all within in a character-driven, horror/crime thriller series, grounded in an ongoing sophisticated mystery in the vain of True Detective (Season 1) mashed up with the odd, paranoid, who-can-you-trust vibe of a Twin Peaks-on-acid.

An expansion of the mythology designed to please diehard puritans and a blank canvas to appeal to a whole new generation of viewers to the story.

We’ll tell this tale through the eyes of an accessible hero who comes to a cursed city to find his missing brother and ends up uncovering a massive series of secrets in the bizarre place known as Crystal Lake.

In our vision of Friday the 13th, Crystal Lake has grown up and so has the franchise itself.  It’s time to probe the deep dark depths of the movie’s mythology and explore the mind-blowing secrets under the surface – secrets centering on three men whose lives have been on a collision course.

Our series is about the all the things you don’t know about Friday the 13th – Jason was a very important piece of the horrific events that have defined this community – but he was (and is) just the tip of the iceberg of madness hidden under the surface.

Over several seasons we’ll explore the hidden mystery of murder and madness, secrets and lies of Crystal Lake and its inhabitants.

The series will be built upon the emotional core of a new homicide detective, Ky Morgan, surrounding the search for his younger brother (also a detective), who vanished while digging into the mysteries surrounding the notorious killer Jason Voorhees.

A killer thought long dead or gone – until the murders begin again.

A stranger in an even stranger city, Ky quickly realizes his only course of action is to complete what his brother ,and find out the truth about Jason.

A bit about Crystal Lake in 2015…

In the movies, all we ever saw were a few broken down gas stations, a diner, and a laughable police department.

In F13 the series, it’s imperative to expand the world of the mid-sized city adjacent to the lake – expand out the people who live there.

On the surface, Crystal Lake is a bucolic blending of old and new; the people who’ve been there for generations, juxtaposed with the nouveau-riche tied to CL tech boom, living in their hillside mansions, looking down on the toiling population of small town folks, and the purveyors of higher learning at the local college whose lives they have transformed, like it or not.

While on the surface, this seemingly peaceful contradiction of a community goes about life in a carefree manner befitting its 21st Century reality of progress, there is something unsettling that bubbles underneath; something that reaches back into the last millennium, born out of terrible secrets that are still festering, growing and building to the day when these secrets erupt and changes the lives of all who’ve denied their very existence – secrets consuming a town that is a nexus between evil and good.

Crystal Lake has one black eye the city elders have been fighting to bury in the dustbin of history, one they don’t want to be known for…  the unsolved series of gruesome murders that happened there years ago.   All of which will be a big problem when Ky arrives and starts uncovering that nothing is really as it seems on the surface.

And that is really what the show is all about.  Jason is a monster who wears his mask openly.   The people of Crystal Lake all have monsters inside that they hide with masks of virtue.

Peeling away those masks, uncovering their secrets is the key for Ky to find his brother – and he will do that – or die trying.

 

We’ll have more updates along the way – including rumored ties between Crystal Lake and its inhabitants and characters that live in another city named after a body of water – a cove known for it blue waters in a place called Delaware.

 

Steve Mitchell                   Craig Van Sickle

Halloween

steve-2nd-bday

Just as I was leaving to Trick or Treat on Halloween when I was 3 years old, we got the call.  I had a baby brother and his name would be Steven. My grandmother, whom we called ‘Mom’ (which would prove to be confusing to say the least to have both a mother and a grandmother called Mom, but that is a story for later on…) had gotten me outfitted in my black cat/ballerina costume.   The tradition to dress as a mash up of two things was born the same day as Steve.   Daddy’d had called earlier to say that the baby was coming, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant.  All I knew was that ‘the baby’ was taking its sweet time about it.  If it didn’t time its arrival properly, my whole Halloween might be ruined.  The skies had turned grey in the east and were an explosion of purples and red as the phone that hung on the wood paneled wall next to the bar between our kitchen and den, rang.  The ring was the music of the settings we have now on our smartphones known as Old Phone.  But it should just be known as Phone, since that’s what all phones sounded like.  Old phones, actually sounded different.  But whatever.  My grandmother was wearing capri pants and a red sweater.  I remember everything about the moment.  My friend Tammy’s father, who was to be my candy gathering escort that evening had just arrived to get me.  He stood on the back patio just outside our sliding glass door waiting, while I physically straddled the doorway caught between the two moments.  I had one foot on the bricks ready to go, and one foot on the grey speckled formica watching my grandmother as she cooed and laughed into the phone receiver.  She was reclining, one butt cheek on the barstool as she looked into my eyes but spoke into the phone, “Well that is just mighty good news.”  After she’d said goodbye to my Daddy we jumped up and down to celebrate.  I went out into the world filled with the feeling of possibility.  Somewhere inside I knew I was forever altered  and welcomed the change. In fact, I  was so excited that I told people at each house I went to that night.  “I just got a baby brother for Halloween!”  And at door after door I was given extra treats for sharing the good news.  I didn’t yet know it, but that was to be the last Halloween where I was center of attention.  From there forward, it was Steve’s day.

The picture above is from his 2nd birthday.  It was taken just before he tried to eat the wax candles.

Happy Birthday Pretender Steve.  Love you so much!!

I’ve got a secret

I bet Steve’s looking everywhere for this. Can you keep my secret?

 

Don’t forget to watch the other Red Files at https://www.thepretenderlives.com/redfile/

Erica

Erica-and-Steve

Once a tiny bundle of joy, now a young lady, my niece is becoming an adult this weekend – no not like that – she’s on a spiritual retreat and I have been asked to send her a letter of encouragement as she matures.  Mine reveals one of the most important mysteries of life.

THE MOMENT YOU BECOME AN ADULT

Erica,

While spending time this week reflecting on the world you bring such a sparkle to, I pray you can be open to the following thoughts and advice about one of the most important stepping stones of growing up and life itself.   It’s about the moment you become an adult.

Let me step back to put this moment in proper perspective.

There are times in life where we make huge steps in our maturity, where we learn lessons that will form the foundations of how we will live life and choose our pathways.   They are known as passages. They are learning moments that start when we are too young to know they are happening at all- our first words, first laughs, first steps and stretch throughout our childhoods.

These passages are usually associated with the adults we know, love and respect the most: our parents, grandparents, and close friends of the family.   These are the people we look up to and trust and from whom we gain wisdom, as they have been and always will be there for us on life’s journey. They are the adults who are there to encourage us to have the self-confidence to take that first step, to jump off the high dive, in fact, to take the chances life itself is built upon.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn from these passages and to learn how your relationship to these special people determines whom you are and whom you will be, for it is within your relationship to these special adults that you will discover the biggest life passage of all.

This passage usually comes when you least expect it.  When things are normal and routine. When you are doing something with these adults you have done a hundred times before, but suddenly you see it all in a different way.

Often the passage takes place during a gathering.  You are in your home with a room full of the people you have always known and trusted and looked up to.  Ones who have always been there for you.  Loved you. Encouraged you.  The ones from whom you have gained wisdom.

It may be a holiday setting and those adults may be celebrating with a glass of good cheer, they may be laughing, singing or telling bad jokes.

The passage often becomes one of those ‘slow motion moments in life.’  You know the ones- those snapshots when everything that isn’t important in life fades into the background, the sound literally drops out, and all you are left with is the clarity of your father’s smile, the twinkle in your mother’s eyes when she laughs, the weird dance movements of their friends.

You look around at all these adults you love and respect, then ones who were there for you in good times and bad, who comforted you when you first fell, stayed up taking care of you when you were sick, who were there for you in the glow of your first kiss, or to wipe the tears away after your first broken heart.  And as you look at these people you will experience the revelation that will change your life forever.

In the clearest moment of epiphany you will ever have, it will suddenly dawn on you, and you will realize without in any doubt in your heart that these people who have been the solid foundation of your life, the ones you have always been there and will always be there for you no matter what, are all as crazy as bat shit!

That you are the smartest person in the room, and yet these clowns and all the others like them are in charge – not just of your life – but of the whole effing world!

This is not a subtle revelation – it’s like a gong ringing in your heart and mind. And it is in that instant you become an adult.

Trust me, it’s a scary moment.

Scary because you realize ‘this is it’ – and it doesn’t get any better.

My advice to you is to run as fast as you can away from these crazy ass adults – before you become one yourself.  Before you come to grips with the fact that your relationship with those crazy ass people is all there is to life.

That’s the next passage.  Then it’s your turn to keep the secret of being bat shit crazy from the next generation – at least until they are old and mature enough to deal with it.

You’re an adult now.

Enjoy life – it’s a gift – and all there is.

Love you,

Uncle Steve

Where Did You Go, Little One?

Where Did You Go, Little One?

goodbyes
Like many dads and moms, when my children, Aridae and Wills, were each wee tots, I’d tuck them into bed. Just before I’d sing or hum The Beatles’ lullaby to end all lullabies, Good Night, I would playfully throw the sheet over their heads and ask the question, where did you go, little one, then fuel their nightly giggles at this routine with tickles. It was bonding. It was a now moment, every night, shared with the stars and the crickets. It was a loving life ritual that just was.

And now, so many years later, another ritual is upon me.

In exactly six weeks, I will take my son, my six-foot-four baby boy, off to college. As this ritual moment grows closer, I find myself pondering the night again with the crickets and stars, humming Good Night to myself now, anticipating this rite of passage for him, his mother, and me, the voice inside my heart whispering a familiar question: where did you go, little one?

Wendy and I are blessed with two great children. We dropped our daughter Aridae, our oldest, off at college four years ago and I can honestly say that it was the hardest day of my life. Ask anyone in my family and they’ll tell you I don’t even do well with good-bye scenes in movies – heck, I cry every time Steve Martin says good-bye to John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

I remember vividly pulling up curbside at the Tucson Airport that evening. Wendy was staying back an extra day to help Ari finish the college settling in process, and Wills and I were flying back to LA. The car stopped. I climbed out into the 105 degree Arizona heat, but didn’t even notice it. From the back, I tugged out my suitcase that felt so heavy in that moment, Wills grabbing his own bag. My beautiful daughter got out of the car, and at that moment, I could hear, see, sense nothing else around me except her. Nearly tripping over my bag, I grabbed Aridae, pulled her close and likely whispered something father-wise in her ear, what, I can’t recall. I’m sure I told her how much I loved her, but she already knew that. I told her to work hard, but she knew that was the plan. I told her I would always be here for her, but I’m sure she already knew that too.

In those final seconds where broken hugs expire and good-byes are born, we basked in the glow of our smiles – those unspoken words of silent understanding summing up the years now behind us, flowing freely between us. Then I felt my emotional damn breaking. Yes part of it was her good-bye to me and mine to her, but mainly it was the realization that this was, as the cliché goes, the first day of the next chapter of the rest of my life. I fumbled for my suitcase handle and bee-lined it into the terminal with my son.  Wills looked over at me. I was crying like a baby. And while he may not have been able to grasp the emotional magnitude of it all for me, he was in that moment, my rock.

Where did you go, little one?

Aridae, like my son soon will, went to where life slides into a new realm and where Dad’s inevitably ponder their own existence under a full moon, with stars and crickets.

It took many a full moon for me to get a grip on Aridae’s absence in our home. I’d peek into her empty room on many an occasion just to say a quiet hello where noise and laughter once ruled.  But still, I knew she had gone to where she was meant to – into adulthood and her own adventure.

Now it’s Wills’ turn. It’s been a busy couple of months for him- and all of us- and I couldn’t be more proud. He finished his second season on the Varsity golf team (golf was very bonding for us), earned his Eagle Scout award (I’m proud to say I was in scouting with him for many years, since my Cub Leader days) and he graduated high school with honors (I had nothing to do with that). Now it’s July and he’s basking in the leisure his hard work has earned him – hanging with his buds, chillin’ on his own terms – living the last summer of his childhood.

Where did you go, little one?

I am certain of very few things in my life, but one of them is that I have been a pretty good dad (you’ll have to confirm this with my children, of course). Oh sure, I have the doubts every parent has had- the things not said, the moments missed, but overall, I feel pretty good about my place in the standings. And now the season of being a dad to children is ebbing away. In six weeks I will say good-bye to my son. No, thankfully he’s not going off to war and God willing we will have many more beautiful times together. As I ponder the moment of his last childhood hug from me, I find solace in the fact that I have no recollection of the moment I hugged my parents good-bye at age eighteen and so I know in my heart the melancholy of this rite-of-passage is more mine than his.

And so, in that very same Tucson heat, he will smile at me, he will tell me that he will work hard and be safe. His six foot-four-inch frame will engulf me.  I won’t want to let go, but will, knowing in my heart he‘ll move on and become the exemplary man I’ve always known he can be. And in that moment he will tell me that he loves me – will again be my rock – because he’ll know, intuit, sense, feel, what is going through my mind…

 

Where did you go, little one?

 

Craig W. Van Sickle

Author, producer and writer. Craig has become a trailblazer in Trans-media.

TIME FOR A CONFESSION

THE-CONSULTANTS

People often ask how it is that we can come up with some many twist and turns, ups and downs, ins and outs when writing the Pretender.  Well, this is a subject that we have been reluctant to discuss for fear of our methods would be copied and duplicated by others.  However, since the demand to know is so high, we have decided to level with everyone. So this is confession time.   We have consultants.   Yes, it’s not us. We employ a team of two of our best most loyal friends, who are genius thinkers, wildly more talented than either of us.  They are the true brain trust behind all things Pretender. Hat in hand, often on our knees, we will crawl to them and – without making eye contact (they hate eye contact) – we tell them where we are failing and ask for any guidance they can provide. Though neither ever read our stories (and we are not sure either of them ever read at all), these little geniuses always seem to have just the perfect answer, just the right question to pose to the audience, the perfect twist with which to create an incredible chapter-ending cliffhanger that keeps you reading in the middle of the night. They are the brains behind the brains behind Jarod’s brains and Miss Parker’s clever quips. And while they are expensive, we believe it’s worth it. Yet… the oddest thing about these prodigies is that they don’t take money as pay.   That would be too easy.  With these story virtuosos, it is all about incentives, making them promises they can’t refuse.  Hell, sometimes we even are forced to bribe them with special edibles or agreeing to go on long walks while they mastermind the next story move. But we threw them for a major loop yesterday when we asked more than we ever have before.  Our issue wasn’t just about a small story point here, a character revelation there, we asked them the big question.  What they thought the 3rd Pretender Novel should be about. We are afraid that we stumped them. Below is a picture of them pondering all the possibilities. If you wish to incentivize them yourselves with special treats they will become your best friends too.

STEVE AND CRAIG

Katie’s First Pretender Blog Post!

katie-steve

 

Ok.  So.  The first time I fell in love with a boy, I was three and a half years old, in the front seat of my daddy’s white Chevrolet, and my 2-day-old baby brother was placed into my lap.  It was love at first sight!  I was allowed to hold him in my lap for the entire ride from the hospital to our house.  Were my parents crazy??  There weren’t even seatbelts in the car!  But I held him tight and talked to him and cooed at him all the way home, and decided he was a keeper.  I was going to boss him around (some things haven’t changed), he was going to worship me and do everything I told him (not exactly how it went) and we would get along forever (ish).   Steven Long Mitchell, or “Shot,” as he was called when we were little, is a writer/producer/director, yes.  He is also a champion barbequer, woodworking fool, bourbon connoisseur, baker of fruit cobblers, and a pretty damn good brother (now that we are adults, anyway).  As a kid…well, that’s another story… and one that I will tell here on this blog as I go along.  Believe me, I am going to tell some stories about Steve from childhood, and I feel pretty confident that I don’t have to worry about retaliation, because, as I understand it, he is technologically challenged and just this side of hopeless when it comes to figuring out how to work his own blog site here. He has to have others spoonfeed him every step of the way, and he has blocked most of the memories from those years.   Also, fun fact– I went to high school in Lexington, Kentucky with Pretender guest author, Mark Dodson, back when he had a gigantic blond afro. And I started my acting career with Craig Van Sickle in an improv group in Los Angeles many years ago, so these guys are family to me.  I love family.  Part of what I love so much about being an actor is the family aspect.  With every TV show, film, commercial or theater piece, a family is created.   Family is a big reason that I am so excited to be writing the young Miss Parker series.   I’m thrilled to have been invited into the greater Pretender family and hope you guys will welcome me.   The first book, entitled, Shattered Doll, is set in France where an eighteen-year-old Miss Parker is attending the Centre university known as CIT.  You’ll get to watch her develop from the young girl in Blue Cove, Delaware who lost her mom, into the brilliant, sexy, wünderkind operative that she became.   Sydney has a line in Rebirth (and in the Pretender Pilot) that he says to Miss Parker,  “You were such a happy little girl.  What happened to you?”  That question (and many more!) will be answered in these books.  Questions like…who was her first lover?  Did she ever let anyone into her heart?  What did she see the day her mother, Catherine, died?  Who taught her about eyeliner and stilettos?  And what about Jarod?  What new things will we learn about the relationship between Miss Parker and Jarod?  And most importantly, I welcome your input!!!  If there are any questions you would like to see addressed, let me know.  And if you catch me misquoting or misrepresenting something, call me out.  I will post things here as I go along.  And I look so forward to getting to know y’all.

May 6, 2014

The Votes Are In!

The auditing team in SL-1 has analyzed, categorized, and scrutinized the votes for the Saving Luke cover, and after much deliberation, consultation with the Centre’s resident psychic empath, and approval from the Tower, it can be officially declared that we have a winner!

The winning cover for

The Pretender: Saving Luke is…

post_v2

Option B, Burnt!

Thanks to each and every Pretender fan that cast a vote.  We cannot express enough appreciation to the global community that has been so supportive of the rebirth of tP.  We are very excited about Saving Luke’s upcoming release- and now, its new look- and we hope that you are too!   Steven and Craig   P.S. – The Audit Department was kind enough to provide us with a breakdown of the votes.  Here are the results for each of the options.

SL-graph

Listen!

listen_300

 

I’m not sure what it was, but something really weird happened to me last summer. It started like this: I’m taking a sip of coffee when the woman smiles at me, slightly tilts her head and answers my question by saying, “When I tell people what I do for a living they think I’m crazy and zone out.”

    “What is it that you do?”

    She said, “I teach classes about communicating with your higher energy entities.”

    Unable of coming up with an appropriate response I just raised a Spock eyebrow.

    She grinned, “I’m an Angel Whisperer.” Then her eyes twinkled.  Real twinkles. Just like in the movies.

    “You’re a what?” I asked, taking a sip.

    “An Angel Whisperer. I can communicate with the heavenly spirits.”

    Trying not to blow French roast out of my nose, I smiled back and said, “Why would they zone out when you say a bat-shit-crazy thing like that?”

    Now, I didn’t say that out loud.

    I said that in my head.

    Out loud I said, “How fascinating. What exactly does that mean?”

    She twinkled again, then rambled on about how she asks questions to angels, listens to their answers and then repeats them to those of us who can’t hear.

    While she was saying this I wasn’t hearing her, or angels; all I could hear was my voice in my head yelling at my wife for roping me into helping her teach a communications seminar for a women’s networking association on how to sell their businesses in 3 minutes or less. Essentially she’d conned me into using my 25 years of storytelling experience as a television writer and novelist to help these women narrow down what they do in a way to hook people so they will listen to their pitch. Sort of what the short scene at the top of your favorite TV show does to make you watch the episode.

    Little did I know I was the one about to be hooked.

    Anyhow, as Angel Lady meandered on about how what she did was based on energy vortexes, time continuums and other dynamic forces, it all turned into Charlie Brown adult wonka-wonk speak and I was no longer listening. I was thinking about how frustrated I’d been with my father and his declining health and that he hadn’t planned for anything and how we had just had to move him into a home that was costing a fortune.

    Still I did my best to plaster on a happy face. But the fake smile shattered when I suddenly zoned back in when I heard myself saying to Miss Whisperer, “Are you outta your effing mind?”

    Now, I think I also said that inside my head – but to this day I’m not positive, because she immediately commented. “I used to think I was out of my mind.”  As she said that I noticed the twinkle fading from her eyes. “Especially while I was growing up.”

    She then told me the following:

    “When I was sixteen I was driving through Laurel Canyon on a misty afternoon when I heard a male voice in the backseat say, “You should get in the right lane.” I looked around, even though I knew no one was there. I’d been hearing voices my whole life and people made fun of me, so I had told myself not to listen anymore. But a few seconds later I heard him again. “Get in the right lane!” I shook it off and kept driving, and then all of a sudden, he screamed: “GET IN THE RIGHT LANE!” I swerved right and the second I did, a dog ran into the street from my left, right in front of a truck in the opposing lane. He locked on his brakes. I slammed on mine. The road was slick and the truck spun 360 degrees into the left lane right where had I not swerved, we would have hit head on. Instead we came to a stop inches apart. Stunned, I looked up to see the dog touch its nose to my bumper.  As he wagged his tail and ran off, I again heard the voice.  He said, “You can drive in the left lane now.”

    “I knew he was an angel.” The whisperer finally looked at me. “Since that day I decided to ‘listen.’”

    It was suddenly very quiet in the room.

    And in my mind.

    I felt something – peculiar – in my chest.

    But this wasn’t the weird thing I was going to tell you about. In fact, this was only the tip of the weird iceberg that would float through my summer.  Anyhow, I stammered something about how when people ask what she does – tell them that story.

    They will want to know more.

    I know I did.

    So I decided to take her class.

    I should state right here I’ve never believed in psychics, or mediums or mysticism. So to justify doing this I told myself, “Hey – I’m in television. For years, along with my partner, Craig Van Sickle, I’ve written a show and now a series of novels about characters, some of which have an ‘inner-sense’ that guides them. Maybe there is something I can learn from her that can help me with that. Who knows, there might be a series in this Angel Whisperer stuff.  Yeah, that’s it.  That’s my reason for going.”

    A few weeks later I’m driving to the ‘seminar’ with two things on my mind.  One, how ridiculous this will probably be.  And two, the guilt I was feeling for hardly ever visiting my father in his care facility.  Maybe it wasn’t guilt, maybe it was frustration, but whatever it was it was eating at me.

    See, the truth is I never really knew my father as a father.  My folks got divorced when I was three and I have no nuclear family memories.  As a child he was a pleasant enough guy on the occasional weekend and summer vacation. And as a young adult, a fun person to go to football games with.  But he was never really a father.  Then one day, as a real adult with kids of my own, my father left his third wife in Texas and came to visit – and the irascible bastard never left.

    Now I was forced to take care of a man who’d never taken care of me.  I was lost deep in my head thinking about how bizarre that concept was when I pulled up in front of the little house in Burbank.

    I decided to put off thinking about dad until another time.

    I had some Angels to Whisper with.

    The class consisted of me and five middle-aged women. All of these ladies were very serious about the spiritual encounter we were about to have and clearly looking for some answers to fill emotional holes in their souls. Looking around this group of women you could easily find in any strip mall in the world, I suddenly found myself saying, “What the hell am I doing here?”

    I said that on the inside; on the outside I said, “Hi, my name is Steve.”  So, as is my nature when in semi-uncomfortable situations, I immediately found myself slipping into my typical class clown  persona, flirting with the ladies to get their minds and mine off the subject at hand.

    And I wasn’t even sure why I felt that way.

    I won’t go through the class beat for beat, but it started with a prayer about opening yourself up to your angels and their guiding voices.  After the first prayer, and my fourteenth joke, I felt myself feeling – well, scared.

    Then something weird began happening.

    It’s not the really weird thing this story is all about, but it’s part of it.

    I started hearing something from the voice in the back of my head. It started as a whisper, then full voice repeating the same word over and over and over again.

    The word was ‘listen.’

    I shook my head, chalked it up to psyching myself out and tried to tune it out and focus on what the other students were saying, but it kept echoing, until it drowned out even their voices.

    At that point my fear turned to a bit of dizziness.

    So I wrote the word ‘listen’ on a single piece of paper on my pad to make it stop ringing in my head.  About 20 minutes later the lady leading the group passed around a booklet for us all, in the order it came to them, to read a page from. When the book was placed in my hand, I turned the page to my reading – which was entitled – ‘listen’.

    No shit.

    Which of course completely freaked me out.  All of a sudden Mr. Jokester wasn’t so cynical.

    I showed the group of women my pad with the same word written on it so they too could share in my – ‘whatever the hell it was’ that had just happened.

    The ‘listen’ thing seemed to resonate particularly strong with the woman sitting next to me.  From the first instant I got along with Melissa as if we’d been old friends, which made me feel very comfortable with her.

    What happened next – not so much.

    We were instructed to ask our angels a question and then ‘listen’ and write down exactly what you heard their voices say.  I won’t go into great detail here except to say I sarcastically ‘asked my angels’ to clarify for me just how ridiculous this whole thing was. The voice I heard laughed and said it was some kind of ‘bullshit weird.’  Now, I assumed the voice wanted to say ‘weird bullshit’ – and had just transposed those words – yet following the instructions, I wrote it down exactly as I heard it.

    Asked for a volunteer to read aloud what we’d heard, the class clown raised his hand.  But while I read my cynical answer to my cynical question – complete with the words transposed, under her breath I heard Melissa say – “oh wow.”

    She’d said “oh wow’ for a reason – for when it was her turn she read what she’d heard ‘from the angels’ it came out she had written down the exact same sentence with the same words “bullshit weird” transposed.

    Melissa seemed to have a very strong spiritual connection to her inner-sense.  During the rest of the class, she repeatedly surprised the other ladies with what their angels were telling her. She had an uncanny knack to connect to what the specific holes in their souls were, especially about deceased loved ones. She spoke to them in freakish detail along with objects she saw around them – with a specificity that seemed to astonish everyone.

    Somewhere along the way it all caused me to feel nauseous.

    She hadn’t seen or heard anything associated with me, as far as I could tell, yet after the class I felt compelled to talk to her.  So we went and had coffee.

     While sipping a latte at a Starbucks in Burbank, (where angels are not commonly known to hang for an afternoon jolt of caffeine), she suddenly got this odd look on her face and then began relating things she said she was hearing regarding me.

    What she told me about myself was dead on. They were things I’d never told anyone.   She then told me two things I will never forget: that ‘forgiveness’ was something I had to get in touch with.

    And that I had to pay for the coffee.

    I sort of slept off the novelty of the day, and in the days that followed either let it go or buried it in my subconscious.  While the Angel Whisperer day had been unique, I’d convinced myself the strange things that occurred were merely coincidence and that there really wasn’t a TV show in it.  I went back to the typical day to day of real life. Writing the novels, trying to avoid my pain in the ass of a father who, the more his health deteriorated, the more I found myself more resentful towards, hoping not to be asked to help any more women learn to communicate their businesses and generally sliding back into the routine of life.

    But a few weeks after I’d left it all behind, Melissa emailed me.

    She said she’d been having recurring dreams about me and asked if we could meet for coffee again to discuss it.

    Before we met I found myself ‘hearing’ the word ‘listen’ again.

    It seemed to be in my consciousness no matter where I was. It was driving me crazy. And while I was still discounting everything – I also found myself compelled to delve into the forgiveness concept. I didn’t know what it was, so I Googled it and found myself staring at prayers on the subject on the Internet.

    That search occurred this past Sunday.

    On Monday I saw her again and she told me that for days and for nights, over and over, she’d ‘been told’ by the angels that she must reiterate to me the need for forgiveness in my life. She then pulled out something she’d brought me – they were forgiveness prayers for that purpose.

    These weren’t the same prayers I’d found on the Internet, but the idea of her bringing what I’d looked up just the previous day got me a little uneasy. All of a sudden I started to feel the same fear bubbling up as well as a bit of the nausea I’d experienced in the class.

    Then if that wasn’t enough – on Tuesday, my wife, out of the blue says to me, “You have a lot of unresolved anger toward your father and I think it’s really important that you forgive him.”

    Of course I come back with “Have you been talking to those ladies at the class I went to? Melissa and the other junior whisperers?”  My wife had no idea what I was talking about, but when I told her what had transpired she said – “Maybe you should ‘listen.’”

    Okay – two or three times is a coincidence – but this is like I was being shouted to from on high. “Okay,” I thought, “I’m listening, I’m listening.”

    The truth was I had a lot of unresolved animosity with my dad.  He was not the father I hoped he’d be as a child, nor as a young adult and now as a grown man. I had a particular and focused amount of anger that had been bubbling inside me toward him.

    So Wednesday morning I go up to my office and I decided to do the forgiveness prayer Melissa had given me for my father and for myself regarding my feelings toward him.

    As instructed, I spoke to my angels and then said the prayers three times with as much feeling and conviction as I could.

    And strangely enough afterwards I felt – calm. Like all of the anger I’d had about him not being the father I had always wished I’d had somehow lifted. Now I’m not saying I heard angels – but I felt like someone or something was looking down and smiling on me.

    Thirty minutes later I got a call to say my father had died.

    He’d passed twenty minutes earlier – peacefully in his sleep – literally within minutes of my prayer.

    That’s the really weird thing that happened.

    Regardless of your relationship, saying goodbye to a parent can never be easy – and yet I found myself strangely at peace about it.

    Maybe because I listened, maybe because I forgave him, maybe because I’d forgiven myself. Or maybe everything weird that happened to me that summer was a coincidence.

    I don’t really know what those inner voices are.

    But I’m going to continue to listen and I hope you also listen to yours as well.

You can follow Steve on twitter @pretendersteve

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