the official website for the writings of
ralph robert moore

The full text of Father Figure is now available in new trade paperback and Kindle editions, with a 2015 Author's Preface, and an appendix which includes 6,000 words in deleted scenes.

Father Figure is also available at all other Amazon sites worldwide, and additional online venues. 175,000 words, plus 6,000 words of deleted scenes.

South of Anchorage, accessible only from a mud-rutted road off Seward Highway, lies the town of Lodgepole. After midnight, among the blueberry bushes of White Birch Park, a man climbs on top of a woman and begins making love to her. As her orgasm rises he puts his hands around her throat, shutting off her air. She struggles, not to stop him, but to stop herself from trying instinctively to pull his hands off her throat. As the top joints of his thumb meet at the front of her throat she comes, her cry of orgasm ricocheting around inside her forever.

Daryl Putnam, handsome, bookish, wakes up from a nightmare and decides to do something he hasn't done in years. Take a walk outside at night. Down in the park, at the lime green shores of Little Muncho Lake, he comes across the body of the strangled woman.

The next morning, at the coffee shop of the hospital where he works, Daryl meets Sally, a pretty, dark-haired girl. He's intelligent, she's outgoing. What they have in common is both are living lonely lives. Until today.

Also in the hospital coffee shop, shaking half a can of black pepper onto his tomato soup, is Sam Rudolph, a fiftyish man with eyes like an angry dog's, who has spent over twenty years quietly manipulating events in Daryl and Sally's lives to have this seemingly chance encounter among the three of them occur.

And who is actually a lot older than fifty.

"It is easy to see why Father Figure has become an underground classic over the years. It is a dark, extremely disturbing but completely gripping suspense thriller with a strongly erotic subtext...Moore is an extremely talented writer with a gift for pushing the reader's emotional buttons...certainly liable to become a cult classic, and deservedly so."

From an editorial review

Amazon US Trade Paperback and Kindle

Amazon UK Trade Paperback and Kindle

When someone you love dies, are they gone forever?

Meet the Ghosters, and the desperate people who hire them.

In our modern world, only Ghosters know what comes after death. What stays behind. And what dwells between.

Ghosters are a small, loosely-connected group of individuals who travel the highways of America curing people of their hauntings. For as much money as they can negotiate from each client. They are legitimate. But they are not nice.

Amazon US Trade Paperback and Kindle

Amazon UK Trade Paperback and Kindle

If you're here, it's probably night. You can see a window from where you sit, and the window is dark. Who really knows what's outside?

I write. If you read, we've just made a connection.

SENTENCE is the forest you fall asleep into.

I created SENTENCE back in 1998 as a way of letting readers know a little bit more about me. Here you'll find about a dozen of my stories, the complete text of my novel Father Figure, essays of mine, videos I've made, photographs I've shot, a decade and a half of my on-line diary entries, some of my favorite recipes, and much, much more. I don't fear plagiarism. Ideas can be stolen-- a simile, a description, a plot, a joke-- but that will happen regardless of the medium in which your luggage is left alone on the airport floor. The truth is, fear of plagiarism is fear of readership. To be plagiarized is never fatal. What is more important is to be read. Because if it's in a box, and no one but you knows about the storms raging through the paragraphs, the footsteps plodding soggily down the sentences, water dripping off the rims of words, that's the biggest shame of all. A fizzle. Because the real achievement of writing is not the writing. The real achievement of writing is someone else reading the writing.

SENTENCE started as an island. Over the years, its accumulated bulk, added to each month, became a continent.

Art is an invitation to go inside someone else's mind. To see our world as they see it. SENTENCE is my mind.

I've been published in America, Canada, England, Ireland, India and Australia in a wide variety of genre and literary magazines and anthologies. My fiction has been called "graphically morbid". My writings are not for everyone. Are they for you? Find out.

I'm glad you came. I just lit a cigarette. I just poured Merlot. I hope you enjoy your exploration.

And to see what I'm up to right now, and what currently interests me, visit my page.

Webmaster Ralph Robert Moore at Entire contents Copyright © 1997-2016 by Ralph Robert Moore, All Rights Reserved.

Established January 1, 1998.

To buy my books, please go to BUY MY BOOKS

To see where I've been published, please go to BIBLIOGRAPHY

For samples of my writing style, please go to WORDS WALKING NUDE

For a complete chronology of site updates, please see HISTORY

SENTENCE Publishing

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"All was chaos, that is, earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed-- just as cheese is made out of milk-- and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels."

-- Domenico Scandella, 1599 (Two years before being burned at the stake).

like they're colors
april 1, 2016

Q: So what have you been up to lately?

A: I was at my dentist the other day, and of course he got into small talk with me, they always do, I think that's a smart approach for anyone in a white jacket who's going to cause you some degree of pain, it puts a visit in context, we're going to talk briefly about the weather then he's going to stick a long needle in you while he marvels aloud, looking out the window, at how rainy it's been, and the thing is, he'll usually follow up with, What have you been up to lately, and I really have no answer. In a way, it's like talking to your father long distance on the phone. How's it going? You're not really going to say how it's going, because you don't want to share what's actually going on in your life with your father, and your father doesn't really want to know. He's got his own problems. The phone call is basically an excuse to hear your grown-up voice for a while. I remember one time I got a call from our next door neighbor and he asked, over the course of our conversation, What have you been up to? And because I had at that time just undergone a procedure I had dreaded doing, and was so relieved it was over, I said, I just had a colonoscopy! And boy, did that shut him down. I mean, he did not want to know anything at all related to what's inside my pants, and you know what? I don't blame him.

So anyway, when my dentist asked me what I had been up to lately, I wasn't really sure how to respond. Because I hadn't been "up to" much of anything. Mary and I have rich, private lives together, but there aren't specific events we want to share with the world. It's not like I gave a speech, got a raise, or moved into a corner office. I perfected frying eggs sunny-side down, I discovered an appreciation for smoked gouda, especially when used in a béchamel with Brussel sprouts, I steamed a section of white carpet by the desk in my upstairs study that had gotten gray with drifting cigarette ash. But you can't use any of that as an answer. It just sounds too bizarre. The person you're telling something like that to is not going to know how to respond.

So instead I said, Just enjoying retirement.

As it turned out, his parents had recently retired. So he asked me, What was the biggest change you noticed in your life since retiring. And he was sincere.

So I answered him sincerely. The biggest change is that now that you don't have twenty things you're committed to doing that day, now that you're home all the time, in the enjoyable silence of your rooms, every little task you do have seems like a big burden.

Back when I was working, I'd get a cavity filled early in the morning, drive from there to the airport and fly down to Houston to negotiate a contract, fly back up to Dallas to oversee a meeting with Department of Labor auditors, give a deposition in a legal case we had pending, come home and mow the lawn, and think nothing of it. A typical day. Nothing to it.

But once you're retired, you get used to staying home, you love staying home, and even driving into town once a week to pick up a prescription refill is a big, fucking, major deal, like D-day on Normandy beach. It's all relative.

I could tell by his face that my answer had surprised him. But also, by his expression, that it kind of made sense to him.

Q: How are the cats doing?

A: To the degree they share with us, they appear to be doing fine. We see them mostly around the time they're scheduled to be fed. Other than that, not so much. They're too busy cleaning their crotches, watching The Mouse Channel.

Q: Your writing?

A: It's an enjoyment that has stayed with me since childhood. Back when I wrote using the old-fashioned method of pen on paper, developing a huge lump on the left side of the upper joint of my right middle finger, because I stupidly never learned how to hold a pen properly. I blame the nuns at my Catholic grammar school. They should have smacked me across my narrow back with their yellow yardsticks whenever I positioned my pen the wrong way. I love putting a scene together. How it can start at one place, but end up at a completely different, unexpected place. That's one of the great pleasures in life, shifting words around, like they're colors.

Q: Food?

A: When Mary and I first got together, we loved preparing elaborate meals, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, or the start of a vacation. A few months after we moved in together we quit our jobs in Santa Barbara and drove up the coast to San Francisco, where we wound up in a really great apartment located over a garage. (That apartment has so many memories for us.) The San Francisco Chronicle published a recipe for Double Garlic Something or Other, a really involved recipe that included an extraordinarily long list of ingredients, a lot of which you wouldn't normally think of as going with each other, probably about fifteen separate tasks that had to be accomplished along the way to finishing the dish. It took two days to complete. We bought all the ingredients Thursday in a brightly-lit supermarket, started the preparations Friday as soon as we got home from work, listening to Talking Heads, Bowie, and Devo albums on our record player (since we were the only apartment above the garage, we could play our music as loud as we wanted, as late into the night as we wanted.) Saturday evening we had everything done, put it all together, carried our plates to our bed (we eat all our meals in bed), raised our eyebrows to each other, lifted our forks.

And the dish had absolutely no taste to it whatsoever. For all the strong-flavored ingredients, it was utterly bland. Every ingredient apparently cancelled out every other ingredient. But it gave us a good laugh. I think we wound up eating grilled cheese sandwiches on our sheets while Bowie sang about teenage wild life.

As for now?

Mary and I love eating meat, but more and more, we drift towards fresh produce. Especially for our evening meals. A roasted acorn squash, green beans simmered with onions and bacon, a steamed wedge of cabbage with butter poured over it, an artichoke served with a simple room temperature sauce. Or sandwiches. Because they're so easy to prepare. Doctors let you down, neighbors let you down, even customer service technicians let you down, but sliced ham never lets you down. It's always there, patiently waiting while you select a bread, a condiment, for that evening's meal.

That apartment in California over the garage? When we went back years later to look at it, after living in Maine for five years, and on our way to resettling here, in Texas, we discovered it and its neighboring homes had been razed, replaced by a high rise office building. But it still exists, in our memories.

Q: Health?

A: I can feel arthritis starting to swell my joints. Like an overnight guest who spends way too much morning time in the one bathroom. Both my parents suffered from it, so no surprise. Beyond that, there are several medical procedures I need to have done, none of which I'm looking forward to, but the tip of my right index finger will eventually find its whorls tapping against the pads of our phone, musically entering those doctors' numbers as if in celebration.

Q: What makes you happiest these days?

A: As is always the case, getting to share my life with Mary. That's really what's best in life--sharing it with someone you love, who loves you. A joke is funnier if someone to your left is also laughing, food tastes better if there's an echoing "Mmmmm!", walking anywhere is a walk worth more if when you reach your hand sideways, another hand grasps it.

A new Lately is published the first of each month. To print this Lately, please go here. To read previous Latelys, please go here.