Bad Etiquette: Threatening to Kill the Guy Who Saved Your Life

Since October, I’ve been experiencing chest pains. Actually, they started in July and then subsided after an emergency room visit. The prognosis (read: misdiagnosis) was that I was allergic to an acid reflux medicine I was taking at the time.

Fast forward to early December and it was suggested, following various tests, that I receive a stent. The latest diagnosis: coronary artery disease.

Last Thursday, I went in for the procedure. It was determined that I needed not one stent but three. The artery in question was the left main off the aorta, severe blockage at the beginning of this artery is often referred to as a “widow maker.”

I ended up with two out of three stents for the left main artery and two adjoining branches leading directly to the heart. One of the branching blood vessels collapsed during the procedure which led to a heart attack while I was on the table. I was awake through the whole thing. The pain was the worst I’ve ever experienced.

At some point, between barking orders for this drug and that drug to be administered to me, the interventional cardiologist told me, “Stay with me, Mr. O’Brien.”

With typical aplomb, I grunted, “I’m going to fucking kill you!”

Somehow, amidst the chaos all around me, which included weird lights and shimmering in my peripheral vision akin to The Matrix breaking down or the rustling of angel wings, I got it in my head that my heart attack was the doctor’s fault, rather than genetics coupled with the alcoholic and culinary sins of my past.

I don’t remember much after that, not until right around when they started wheeling me to the intensive care unit.

Obviously, the doctor and his team saved me. I was told that two percent of people who go through this particular procedure suffer a heart attack during it. Evidently, blood vessels often do collapse as the corrective measure is performed.

Anyway, I was discharged on Saturday. Currently, I am resting, doing some reading, and binge-watching The Expanse.

I did try to work on a new novel I started some weeks ago, but it felt too much like work, so I am taking a few days off.

I apologized to my interventional cardiologist for threatening to kill him, by the way. I sense I wasn’t the first; I guess I certainly won’t be the last. Even so, it’s bad etiquette to threaten to kill the guy who saved your life.

To Dream the Blackbane

My own troubles began in earnest the night I set out to meet with a client to show him some surveillance photos I had taken for him. His name was Gaylord “Knuckles” Mouser—just a small-time crook and former amateur boxer. If it hadn’t been for old Mouser, I might have avoided the vampires altogether when they called on me at my office. Instead, I went to see Mouser. If I hadn’t gone to see him, maybe the lady in the red dress wouldn’t have hired my services either. Fate had a funny way of fucking you over. I might have avoided the whole mess if Mouser hadn’t owed me money for services rendered, but I had to collect my fee all the same. After all, I wasn’t running a charity foundation.

So, in 2018 Between the Lines Publishing published my fantasy novel To Dream the Blackbane. Last year I should have posted news of this, but due to some personal issues (work, health, and otherwise) I did not. This is no reflection on Between the Lines Publishing. The whole gang there has been great!

I am admittedly a bit of a dinosaur when it comes self-promotion in the social media age.

Here’s a description of the book:

A cosmic event in 2015 fused earth with the faerie realm. Scientists refer to the event as the Anomaly. A byproduct of the Anomaly was the advent of hybrid beings – people who became mixed with whatever animal or object was nearest them the moment the Anomaly occurred. Humans, or Pedigrees, soon relegated fairy refugees and hybrids into ghetto zones in large cities.

Seventy years later, Wolfgang Rex, a second-generation hybrid – part human, part Rhodesian Ridgeback – is a retired police detective who runs a private investigation business in Chicago’s Southside. It’s a one-hybrid show: though Rex couldn’t survive without his assistant, the faerie Sally Sandweb.

One evening, two vampires visit Rex and offer him a substantial reward for the recovery of a stolen scroll. Later that evening, Charlotte Sweeney-Jarhadill, a Pedigree woman from Louisiana, visits Rex and hires him to exorcise the headless ghost of a confederate soldier from her home.

To complicate matters, the private detective ends up falling for Charlotte. Meanwhile the vampires demand results in the search for the missing scroll. When Rex’s assistant Sally goes missing, he must stay alive long enough to find her. Charlotte and the vampires, however, have other plans for Rex.

If you’re an Amazon die-hard, click on the cover below to buy the book there.


If you’re taste is more Barnes & Noble, click on this link.

Here’s what some people are saying about To Dream the Blackbane:

“A compelling, original tale with a strong narrative voice…” ~ Kirkus Review

“A futuristic American Gothic dark fantasy about a gumshoe who can’t say no, even though at times, he ought to. Delightful!” ~ Chanticleer Review

Delectably wild and intentionally jolting, Richard J. O’Brien proves he is a master of this creatively difficult medium. Highly recommended!” ~ San Francisco Review of Books
As always, be sure to visit the My Books page if you want to purchase other books.


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