Thomas Wictor

I am completely without fear

I am completely without fear

Yesterday I was sent a message explaining why the person in question didn’t want to cover my story of how Mike Albee and Lura Dold of Sandpiper Publicity defrauded me of $40,000 by exploiting the suicides of my parents in 2013. The writer mentioned the Woodside Literary Agency and how its con artists stalked the authors who exposed them.

Here’s a brief description of Woodside and what it did. I’m not allowed to quote from it because it can’t be reproduced without permission. Basically, Ursula Sprachman and James Leonard (also known as John Lawrence) had a fake literary agency. When cheated authors did a sting and exposed Ursula and James-John, the grifters stalked the authors by phone and e-mail.

Writer Jayne Hitchcock documents her experiences here. Some of that is already happening to me, in that Chinese spam is filling my Website contact and contest forms.

I read them all. Today I got this pearl of wisdom.

Christian generally see themselves because the Correct Believers and hardly ever have any suspicions that they can be Pharisees. But, as well frequently they focus on their interest to doctrine and neglect of residing non secular life. Actual non secular daily life springs from the connection with God within the Soul of worship and having to pay heed, and consequential obedience; the doctrine would be the husbandry of it.

Hard to argue with that, you have to admit.

I don’t know: Maybe it’s my past and the deaths of my parents, but I am completely without fear. It could be that most people are very lucky and don’t experience a lot of suffering. When they’re preyed upon, it scares them into paralysis. I used to be that way. Not anymore.

So far not a peep out of Mike and Lura. They may be spreading the word about me throughout the “writing community,” but I don’t care. The second-most insane person I’ve ever met already did that for nearly a year, beginning in September of 2009. You can read what happened to her in “A Second Brush with a Psycho; Her Brush with Catastrophe,” on pages 202-207 of Ghosts and Ballyhoo.

Mike and Lura are different from Ursula Sprachman and James Leonard (also known as John Lawrence). When Mike and Lura are outed, they close up shop and start over. Besides, I know I’ve gotten to them.

When we had phone conversations, Mike would suddenly be at a loss for words. So would Lura. They’d struggle and then change the subject. Their consciences were bothering them. Oh, not enough to make them stop defrauding me, mind you; they’re like Madonna lecturing the world on income equality and materialism from one of her British castles.

Though I can’t say where this will go, I have an advantage over other authors: I’m seriously ill, and there’s nothing left for me to lose. It’s all gone. That allows me to do what it takes to stop Mike and Lura.

Last night, as I typed, I suddenly realized that I had a blind spot in both eyes. Then a shimmery, zigzag line—like a crack in glass plate—appeared in the bottom half of my vision. It was just like this.


That’s never happened before. I stopped writing and did some research, discovering that it was a migraine. Sure enough, within an hour my head was splitting, and I began puking like the time we all went by sloop to Santa Catalina Island. Remind me to tell you about that trip.

Everyone except for Tim threw up for hours. When we sailed back into the harbor, lying all over the deck, hundreds of smug seadogs laughed at us. Tim had taken so much Dramamine that when he drove us home, he kept passing out, so Paul had to slap him on the back of the neck every few seconds to wake him up.

This new type of migraine isn’t good because I have a history of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease on both sides of my family. Mom’s death was due in part to the severe vascular disease that she hid from us, and Dad had a moderate stroke that we didn’t know about until a few months before he died. In retrospect, Tim and I identified when it happened: in 2006, when Dad, Tim, our brother-in-law Bob Gonzales, and I built the extension on the back of Mom and Dad’s house. Here’s what it looks like today. It used to be an open back porch.


Had Dad ever put an extension on a house? No. And Tim was an investor-photographer-artist, while I’m an investor-failed writer. What Tim and I knew about building extensions on houses you could fit inside one of your nose pores. Bob and I had converted a laundry room to a bedroom in his house, but that was child’s play compared to this.

Dad was a man utterly incapable of explaining himself, yet he expected his two middle-aged, liberal-artsy-fartsy sons to help him build wooden frames for the walls, put in windows, insulate the room, install drywall, mud it, put in the ceiling, and do the roof. The first day of work, Dad got into a lather of impatience because he’d say something like this, and we wouldn’t know how to react.

“The comealong has to be ensconced on the flap-hammer and dirge, or else it’ll depramulate.”

We tried to cut and nail together the wooden framework for one of the walls, but we were like cargo cultists using palm fronds to build an aircraft. By the middle of the second day, Dad just sat at his card table with this expression.


“What do we do, Dad?” I’d ask. No response. Just that look.

“What do we do, Bob?” I’d ask him. He’d smoke in cheerful silence.

The next day it was the same thing.

“What do we do, Dad?”


“What do we do, Bob?”


On the third day, I told Dad that Tim and I were on strike until he made us detailed drawings of what he wanted us to do. He smiled and went to bed for a week. Then he produced the drawings, wall by wall, with all the measurements right on the paper where we could read them, and we built the addition.

That was the only time I ever opposed my father in anything major. He made disagreeing with him so unpleasant that it was easier to just give in. For the rest of his life, he’d suddenly get agitated and blurt the following for no reason.

“Like that time you gave me an ultimatum!” Said with the outrage of a cuckold.

Dad had a sixth sense that let him know right when I was about to let him have it. He always backed down before I could stand up to him. The next time he said, “Like that time you gave me an ultimatum!” I planned to respond thusly.

“That was because you were sitting there like a brainless goon with a secret. We spent two full days just standing around staring at each other. First you shanghaied Tim and me into building this thing instead of hiring professionals, because you have to occupy every nanosecond of your existence with busywork to keep from thinking and feeling. You didn’t even ask us. You just came over and told us what we were going to do. Then you wouldn’t explain how to do it. So I gave you an ultimatum to keep myself from ramming your card table down your gullet.”

He never brought it up again. The last time was a year before he died.

Dad’s gooniness was the result of a moderate—not mild—stroke. He had a sizable dead spot in his head, according to the MRIs. Everything Dad developed, I develop twenty years earlier; I’ve got glaucoma, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and strokes in my near future. Like, beginning tomorrow. They’re actually overdue.

“Say, where’s that cancer I was expecting? What’s holding it up?”

So Mike Albee and Lura Dold don’t scare me.

Last night after I stopped vomiting, I watched The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. If you don’t know it, I’d say it’s the best film about how greed can ruin a good thing for everyone. I could’ve been a genuine asset to Mike Albee and Lura Dold, but since they’re frauds, they didn’t know how to utilize me.

Oh well. Sucks to be us.

You know, the worst ain’t so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it’ll be before it’s happened.

—Bob Curtin, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

The worst has happened so many times that now I barely even notice. Maybe that’s why I’m not afraid. Whatever comes next, it’ll be nothing compared to 2013, so I’m happy, confident, and even serene.

When I’m not vomiting.

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