Your Latest Excerpt of Dirty Town Under a Crooked Bridge – The Big Fire! LANGUAGE ALERT – PROFANITY WARNING

dtcb2CFN – Here is your latest excerpt of Dirty Town Under a Crooked Bridge!   Thank you everyone that keeps pestering me to finish this damn thing!

I get so little time to work on this project and just keep flipping through pages.

Tonight’s excerpt was written last year.

Here goes and feel free to post your comments below.


Dirty Town Under a Crooked Bridge – Excerpt 137-1

The flames licked the sky.  I had never seen anything like this in person.   On ashleymarchfireTV yes, on the net yes, pictures yes, but to feel the heat, see the madness on the people pressing to get closer and smell the smoke of ages and history were, well exciting.

Firemen and police were holding people back.  It felt like the whole town came out to watch and the marsh mellow jokes and Jewish Lighting jokes were echoing through the mob.

Laughter tickled the humid night air, and screams when something exploded from within.  It seemed as though every person in the crowd had their own theory or knew something that the one next to them didn’t.

I caught the eye of one of the firemen that had given me some great quotes at another fire and caught up with him.  He seemed really upset.

“Fucking Urban Renewal?  Can you believe that hairy bastard said that!”   The sweat trickled down Bobby’s face.  He’d been a fire man a long time and never played politics which is why he never rose in the ranks. He didn’t play by Cornwall rules, but his own and his dedication as a fireman was respected even by those who had little respect for themselves or others.

Bobby had dreamed as a kid of becoming a fireman.  He zoned in and nobody ever doubted that he’d become one which he did at a young age.    It was his rush, saving the day and seeing the last flame sputter to a cold death.

Now the veins were popping in his neck as he strained on a heavy hose while walking; sweat dripping down from under the visor of his helmet.

“I can’t talk to you, you know that.”      “I know, but you look upset.   Look, I’ll put my pen away.”    Bobby kept walking, but I kept up to him.  I wasn’t going to let this one go.       “Look we’re off the record.    You’ve been good to me and I’ve been good to you,and right now you look really upset.”

He stopped for a second and took in a breath.  Then another.   Exhaustion was written all over him.

“You work hard training all your life and get told to lay down.   It was bad enough when they forced his retarded son into the department, but to have us lay down and call it urban renewal?  I’ve seen a lot of shit in this town over the years, but this is just so fucking wrong.”

As he said that a fireball burst into sky and crowd roared.  It was better than fireworks.   I said  “Why pay to demolish a building and deal with code when you can just burn it down?  Did you notice the demolition trucks are already here?”

I watched Bobby’s face tighten.  He made like he was going to say something and then some inner energy grew with him.  He squeezed the hose hard and yanked it forward.

“I’ll talk to you at the Curling rink.   I have to finish this farce.”

I watched Bobby walk back into the wall of flames with his hose hanging limply; impotent, a sad little boy in a middle aged man’s body, angry at the world and one particular man who destroyed his  vision of what his job and life were all about.

What could I do?  I couldn’t write about any of this.   Nobody would go on the record.  None of this would ever come out except over hushed voices over too much beer in dark sports bars or garages.

That’s when I say Fuzzy talking on his cell phone.   He loved his tech gadgets and was yelling into it.  As I edged closer I started to hear him.

“It’s almost over.  Nothing will be left…. stop it…everything is under control…no problems….tomorrow it’ll be like the building was never there.”

I thought to myself.   Like it was never there.   Two hundred years of history gone.   Cornwall had about the fewest old buildings of any city in the region.   Compared to Brockville and Kingston it was spooky.

“Fuzzy can I have a word?”

“No, you can’t.  You know I don’t talk to you and your fucking paper.   I thought you were run out of town?”

“No, that’s not for another month.   I got another residual cheque and have met this really hot nurse.   I may never leave.”

His eyes glared at me.   He refused to speak,but would not turn his gaze until I backed down.    The utter arrogance of the man rippled through the air.

“Can you tell me how the fire started?    Was anyone hurt?    Why was the demo equipment already on site?  Is it true you forced the fire department to fudge your son’s test scores to get him hired?”

I wanted to ask him six more questions, but instead smiled up at him.   He blinked, turned his back and vanished in the crowd and smoke.

I won this one.  Yes there’d be a price to pay.  This was Cornwall.  You never won.  Even if Fuzzy fell Fuzzy junior would replace him.  In the meanwhile Fuzzy would make my life hell, or at least hectic.

It was a stacked deck and the dealer had long greasy fingers.

It was Cornwall.  It’s how everyone liked it.  And nobody cared or ever would.


If you liked this excerpt and want more please like or share this on facebook, tweet it and of course leave your comments of praise.  We writers can be very vain and you cheap bastards got this for free!   🙂

And if you love Cornwall as much as I do please email us in your letter about why you love Cornwall and you can win a $1,000 local shopping spree!  Click HERE for DETAILS!

Special thanks to artist Jay Schwartz for his amazing test covers.  I’m hoping that he comes out with a third one for us soon!






  1. Rather enjoyed that Jamie ! While reading the carefully crafted pace of the story it reminded me of listening to a rebroadcast of an old time radio show that I listened to on CFRA after midnight via my first crystal radio set as a young teenager. Drawn right into the action and eager to follow it along. Hope that this praise inspires more teases ! Seriously Jamie when will this offering be available for purchase !

  2. Author

    Hi David,

    I’m not sure. It might be one of those books that never get finished… I am seriously burnt out and in need of some vacation time. Due this boycott and associated impact on our company I simply can’t take time off. It’s also impacted our ability to hire staff and/or contractors. The bad guys are doing their worst and it is hurting our community and specifically CFN.

  3. Very good and leaves you wanting more….

  4. Kind of reminds me of my first conscious memory of Cornwall as a four year-old child – the night the cotton mill burned down (1961, if I recall correctly). I remember my brothers and me stepping out into the late night dressed in our pajamas so that we could see and touch the cinders that rained down all over town. We caught them in our hands like big black snowflakes . A night to remember and a poetic forshadowing of my childhood in Cornwall.

  5. now i understand, better, what goes on beneath the seedy underbelly of the city. professionals being forced to do things they were taught not to do. i would imagine this is the case in most circles of governance in many cities. very rarely for the good of the many but good for the one, is the norm. insurance scam, like the twin towers in manhatten, without the conspiracy, but was it not a conspiracy? sounds like something ED would come up with, cheaper to burn it than demolish and ship the remnants out to be buried somewhere else. how long had the plan been devised and why did it burn down that night? was it not a risk to residents in the area? or was the wind blowing away from residential homes? how was it deemed to have started and who signed the investigation papers that followed? i imagine the owners of the property had increased the coverage before hand. just my opinion

  6. Author

    John just a reminder that DTUCB is a work of fiction.

  7. Historic point:
    The Cotton Mill fire alluded to in my comment above occured on Halloween night 1961. This is not fiction.

  8. I will never forget the day that was my birthday and dad said that it was his last day at the Cotton Mill. I never went to see the fire and lived far enough away – very far away from that area. In 1961 I would have been ten years old. I don’t think that it was an accident at all. The weaving went down to Venezuela back then and everyone became unemployed. That was the start of industries and businesses going abroad to get the word done at a fraction of the cost. That was the start of Cornwall’s downfall.

  9. Jamie it is a very good book that you are writing but I would put down part fiction and part truth. You sure have a talent in writing. One day we might see our Jamie up in headlines as a well accomplished writer. Keep up the good work.

  10. Author

    lol, Jules, my work has already been nominated for an Oscar and was good enough for Mr. Spielberg to write a cheque, but thanks 🙂

  11. Jamie you are a good writer and that is the truth. You’re writing is better than a lot of the newspapers around and you give the people the truth which is something that the mainstream media does not do. You are a true professional. You never know how many great novels that you can come up with. Take care.

  12. Reminds me of a huge heritage buildiing that burnt down one Thanksgiving a few years ago.

    The building was left empty, no fire suppressant system or even alarm, no security… just a heritage building that would require jumping through hoops in order to develop.

    But jumping through hoops is for the circus ring, not developers — and anyway, were there even any serious architectural drawings for this “proposed” development?

    So, there it was, a fire waiting to happen, and the hundreds that watched it had a ringside — make that a three ringside — seat.

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