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

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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

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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).

but would you agree it's also kind of hilarious?
july 1, 2016

Q: Why are you limping?

A: I stubbed my left big toe really bad. Like, really bad. This was a couple of weeks ago. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling this incredible pain in my left foot, fell back asleep, woke up later, realized again my left foot really hurt, fell back under.

When I woke to get out of bed around four in the morning, my usual time to rise, I had a lot of difficulty making it to the door of the bedroom. Hobbled down the length of our dark kitchen wincing, and climbing the carpeted stairs to the second floor required me to lean heavily against the wood side rail.

Once I was at the desk in my study, lighting a cigarette, turning on my computer, I leaned forward in my swivel chair to take a look at my left foot. The big toe side of it was rose red and swollen. The bottom joint of the toe raised above the rest of the bones in my foot. It felt dislocated. Probably a good thing I didn't look at it until I got upstairs. I don't know what I did. Evidently I woke in the night, got out of bed to urinate, and really whacked the fuck out of my big toe against the hard metal base of our recumbent bicycle. That's happened before, but never this bad.

Normally I only smoke upstairs, because of Mary's stroke fourteen years ago, but with her approval I decided to have my cigarettes downstairs, in our bed, until my toe healed, so it wouldn't be repeatedly stressed by stair-climbing. Even so, each night when we turned off the lights, it was hard to fall asleep, because the toe hurt so much. Like a toothache. I couldn't even bear having the weight of a bed sheet on it, the first few nights.

Q: That's unfortunate, but would you agree it's also kind of hilarious? There's a lot of humor to be mined in someone with a bum foot. Did you fall over at any point?

A: I didn't, thank God. But here's where the humor comes in.

I was due for a follow-up colonoscopy. I had one in 2012, which I wrote about in great detail in a previous Lately, and was supposed to have my next one in 2015. I decided to wait until after my birthday in November of 2015, because then it would be covered under Medicare (my first colonoscopy cost Mary and me about three thousand dollars in out of pocket expenses; my second, under Medicare, less than two hundred dollars). I wanted to have the colonoscopy early in December so I wouldn't have it hanging over my head during Christmas season, which is supposed to be a time of joy, not a time of nervously anticipating someone running a garden hose up your ass. So I called up, asked to have the procedure scheduled. A couple of weeks later, I was given a date. Because of Mary's stroke she has aphasia, so among other problems, she can no longer read. For that reason, I wanted to be the gastroenterologist's first patient that day, so Mary wouldn't have to sit out in the waiting room too long just staring at the door to the back rooms (the first time I saw this gastroenterologist, four years ago, once I was brought into the back rooms, I was told the doctor was running late, and my colonoscopy, instead of happening in the next ten minutes, was going to be delayed by about three hours. That's a long time to lie naked on an uncomfortable gurney with a syringe head stuck in the back of your right hand. Just saying. And it's a long time to sit in a waiting room, unable to read, staring at a door.)

The office called me. I was going to be the doctor's first patient on a Friday prior to Christmas. Great. Eight-thirty in the morning. I'd have to arrive at seven-thirty. No problem.

That meant that the Thursday prior to that Friday, I'd have to not eat any solid food at all. Liquids only. And no red or purple liquids, because they might be mistaken for blood during the colonoscopy. I'd have to take two tiny laxative pills at two in the afternoon, stop taking any liquids at all, even water, at five o'clock, and at seven o'clock, start drinking four fucking liters of laxative-spiked water. Trust me, that is a hell of a lot of water to gulp down. A fresh glass of water every fifteen minutes, for the next four hours. Sixteen glasses of water. Doesn't seem like a lot? Try it, my friend. And because each glass of water is spiked with a powerful laxative, a lot of each precious fifteen minute water-drinking time is spent on the toilet. I won't get more graphic than that. And after all that is over, you stop drinking anything. Water included. No water during the night. No water when you wake up. No water while you shower, get ready to go to the facility. So it's a big, fucking deal. You have to put yourself in the right mental space to get through this. Which I had done.

But then late Wednesday, just before I was about to start the purge the next morning, I got a call from the gastroenterologist's office, asking if I would agree to reschedule the colonoscopy for the following Friday. The doctor had a conflict in scheduling.

And it pissed me off. He had to know how hard this is to emotionally prepare for (plus you're put under with intravenous anesthesia, which is dangerous). I talked to Mary, and we decided to cancel the appointment, and look for another doctor.

The next morning, I got a call from the doctor's scheduling manager. She apologized profusely for the change. I could have blown up, because calling off the procedure at the last minute really is inconsiderate, but I didn't. Don't burn your bridges behind you. There's a lot of truth to that. I was polite with her. Explained that I didn't blame anyone for anything, but thought I'd probably be better off going to someone else.

Christmas came and went. New Year's.

I looked on the Internet for other gastroenterologists I could use.

And found out that almost all of them, in our immediate geographic area, were all members of the same gastroenterology clinic. And my PCP told me that from her experience, in order for me to switch to a different doctor from that clinic, I'd have to get the first doctor's permission.

I could go outside that clinic, but that would mean going to a different city. There was a gastroenterologist from Nigeria in a nearby city who looked promising, but that involved a lot of highway miles. Since I'd be under IV anesthesia, Mary would have to drive us home afterwards, and because of her stroke she's only driven a couple of times since her stroke fourteen years ago, and that would be asking an awful lot of her, to negotiate all those roads in heavy traffic.

(In America, the standard practice is to put you under with IV anesthesia during a colonoscopy. You don't experience any of the procedure. In some other parts of the world though, my impression is IV anesthesia is not used, and instead the patient is simply given a sedative to keep them calm, and consequently is able to watch the monitor as the colonoscopy proceeds up inside you. In this age of monetization of everything, it astounds me that companies have not seized that opportunity to have pop-up ads appear on the monitor as the probe glides inside you. And they could be targeted ads! Kale recipes for patients, to encourage diets heavy in fiber, lots of smiling people having fun at a lake; promotions aimed at the gastroenterologists for memberships in high end golf courses, and great mini-mall acquisition deals.)

So finally, around May of this year, we talked it over, and decided it really made the most sense to just go with my original gastroenterologist. He did have a great reputation, which is why I chose him in the first place, his assessments were almost always accurate, and he had a warm, friendly group of people working for him. And trust me on this. Warm and friendly is what you want when you're about to go in for a colonoscopy.

So here's the humorous part.

That laxative-spiked water you're drinking? Four fucking liters? It is powerful. I mean, you have to race to the toilet every fifteen minutes as the next wave kicks down. Hard enough to do under any circumstances, but imagine doing it over and over again with a severely stubbed big toe, hobbling and hopping across white tile to hit the toilet in time.

Not me at my most graceful.

Q: Anything else? You were going to talk about some other stuff as well, weren't you?

A: Yeah, but I'll have to wait for the next Lately. I want to end on this though: I had some fun talking about my colonoscopy, but the truth is, if you're fifty or older, you really do need to get a colonoscopy. Colon cancer is easily preventable if it's caught in time. There's no reason at all to not get a colonoscopy. Do you have to drink a lot of water? Sure. But isn't that better than dying of something so easily preventable? Dying because you're afraid of having a simple, widespread procedure performed is just stupid. The procedure itself is easy. Takes about half an hour. And you're completely unaware of it because you're under IV anesthesia. They wheel you into a room, everything goes black, and you wake up in another room, finished. That's it. If you're skittish about having a colonoscopy, please contact me at We'll get through this together. I'll help you.

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