Season 2, Episode 9: Cephalopod Sign, Part 4

We’ve been taking you through Cephalopod Sign, the first part of my YA Fantasy novel, "The Adventures of Woodrow the Wicked." (Which, incidentally, is now available for download on Amazon and will be free from April 1st through April 5th.) At this point in the story, Woodrow has set the giant cephalopod against those rotten old salvagers, but has unwittingly endangered the life of his new friend, the mysterious pirate girl. Meanwhile, Tambroline has managed to steer clear of Iplio's wrath. But now what's god up to? And can Woodrow save his new friend before she’s drowned by the giant tentacled monster? Will he be eaten by the monster himself? There's only on way to find out: listen to the fourth and final episode of Cephalopod Sign!

The music for this episode was provided by the McKenzie Stubbert

Josiah Martens wrote the Lies and Half Truths theme song.

Meg Weber produces the show, along with me, your host A.P. Weber.

Cover by Lance MacCarty and Ivan Vidovic

Cover by Lance MacCarty and Ivan Vidovic

Season 2, Episode 6: Cephalopod Sign, Part 1

I wrote a book. It’s a fantasy adventure novel for young adults (or adults who still feel young) and it’s called The Adventures of Woodrow the Wicked. Now it’s not available yet, but it will be soon. I’ll keep you updated.

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Adventures of Woodrow the Wicked, I’m featuring the first section of the novel here on the podcast. It makes a great short story--which I’m calling “Cephalopod Sign.” I'll be releasing a new episode of the four-parter every two weeks. So keep listening!

This episode’s sponsor is author Cidney Swanson.

The music for this episode was provided by the McKenzie Stubbert

Josiah Martens wrote the Lies and Half Truths theme song.

Meg Weber produces the show, along with me, your host A.P. Weber.

Next: Cephalopod Sign, Part Two 03.04.2016

Photo by Brenton Salo

Photo by Brenton Salo

LAHT Season 2! Coming Friday Dec. 11th!

At long last, I'm ready to announce season 2 of the Lies And Half Truths Podcast! Episode 1 of season 2 is coming this Friday, December 11th (as the title of this post has already indicated.) It's going to be a fun season--longer stories with cliffhangers and all sorts of craziness. You'll love it. We have a new theme song composed by Josiah Martens, too! You can here it in the above preview. Let us know what you think; you can email us at or tweet at me (@apweber). 

Also, I want to let you know about our first sponsor for the podcast: Flash Pulp. It's a fiction podcast. I'm not sure how they manage to do this, but they publish new episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday--and they're damn good stories. If you're enjoying Lies and Half truths, there's a good bet you'll like Flash Pulp. So check them out. 


LAHT Presents: Saving Mars, Chapter One "Not Big On Protocol" by Cidney Swanson

As you know, I'm currently writing Lies and Half Truths season 2. Until it launches, we're bringing you some stories by other great writers. 

On this episode, I read an excerpt from Cidney Swanson’s Saving Mars. Swanson is an award winning YA Sci Fi and Fantasy writer. Check out her Blog. You can pick up Saving Mars and many other books by Swanson on the Amazon book store or on her website. 

Original music for this episode was provided by Josiah Martens.  He did an amazing job and we hope to collaborate quite a bit on future episodes. 

As always, Meg Weber produced this show, along with me. 

I'd love to hear your response to this episode. Did you like it? Did you hate it? We're you like, "meh?" What kinds of stories do you want to hear on future episodes? Email us at

Episode Preview: Saving Mars, By Cidney Swanson

This Friday, October 16th, the Lies and Half Truths Podcast is bringing you an excerpt from Cidney Swanson's Saving Mars, read by me (AP Weber) and scored by my good friend Josiah Martens. It's going to be great, so don't miss it.

LAHT Presents: Great American After Life, by Peter Hoffmeister and Mankind

Cover by Courtney Stubbert

Cover by Courtney Stubbert

On this episode, we’re bringing you a collaboration between Writer Peter Hoffmeister and an experimental, post-rock trio known as Mankind. This collaboration was spearheaded by Mankind drummer, graphic designer and fine-artist Courtney Stubbert. It’s his art you see on the cover above (and, incidentally on the Lies and Half Truths cover.) You can see more of his work at It was Courtney who introduced me to Peter Hoffmeister. Hoffeister’s work might be familiar to you through his novel, “Graphic The Valley,” which I reviewed on my blog when it came out. Or you might have read his memoir “The End of Boys,” or one of his other books or his Huffington Post articles, or his excellent blog. Or perhaps you saw the piece about him in Vice. In any case, he’s a great writer and one of the first people I’d ever met who actually had a book published. So, of course, when I decided to make a go at a writing career, I asked him to read some of my... stuff. And I’ll always be grateful to him for his honest.

For more on Peter Hoffmeister, here are some links:




For More on Courtney Stubbert visit his website here.

Mankind is: 

Guitars - John Hurd

Bass and Organ - James Madson

Drums / Programming - Courtney Stubbert

The Great American Afterlife was recorded/produced by Courtney Stubbert and mixed/mastered by Ashley Stubbert.



Episode 9: The Witch Of Hamilcar, TX, Part 4

Episode 9: The Witch Of Hamilcar, TX, Part 4

The stale air whizzed by, echoing off the narrow passage, invisible in the dark. Seconds before Roland hit the water, it seemed as though the passage opened up into a larger cavern.

He sank deep; his weightless body curled into a fetal ball, tumbling in slow-motion through the dark medium. A mass of soft tubercles pressed against his naked arm, then slid away like a spooked snake.

Roland opened his eyes wide to the black; his body uncurled and flailed. His foot struck a rocky surface and he pushed against it, kicked. He broke the water with an involuntary yelp, took in air, then tried to hold still, steady his breathing, to be as quiet as he could. He heard the tinkle of other bodies in the water.

Episode 5: The Delilah Complex

From my office, I can see her in the periphery of my vision, out there among the cubicles. She’s plain. Not disgusting; just plain. She must be hiding something behind those big, thick-rimmed glasses. I lean back in my chair, arms resting behind my head, and pretend to pay attention to the girl sitting on my desk--practically begging me to bend her over it--while I actually watch this inelegant girl do god-knows-what out in the hive.

And why shouldn’t I watch her? She watches me. Her head is always bowed, eyes gazing up like a rescue dog’s. Bulbous blue fish, her eyes, endlessly darting away if mine happen to pass over her. Maybe that’s the thing. Maybe it really is like in the movies, where the girl takes her glasses off. Why not? I know who she is, really. It seems so strange that no one else has figured it out. But then, people don’t notice the things I notice.

My apartment's just a few blocks from the office. I like the walk and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a girl back there directly from work. On a lunch break once. It’s a humble place, but people expect that with the older buildings downtown. I do a pretty good job with it, too--keeping it hipster chic, or whatever. Women always tell me how much they like it.

The best thing about my apartment is the fire escape. It’s perfect. If I had a balcony, it wouldn’t have the charm, the romanticism. I sit out there every night, in good weather, to smoke and drink wine and watch my city do its thing. You hear the voices coming up off the street, the traffic, eight stories down. It just sings. I truly love humanity--from a distance it’s all soft focus. Occasionally, you get the screech and bang of a collision. I’ll observe the whole thing, from crash to stretcher. I see a lot of things from up there; no one ever knows I’m watching--well, with the occasional exception.

Like the time I was smoking out there, and she blew by; she saw me, too. Her hair pushed back in the wind, her clear, blue eyes met mine for just a split second as she--literally--flew by me, arms out stretched, fists balled, her legs and tight, little butt planked behind her. I’d never seen her that close before. What was that costume made of? Latex? Spandex? It was like she was completely naked.

And then she just slammed right into this thing. I don’t know what it was; I didn’t even know I was in danger. It was like--what?--some sort of big fucking robot or something? God knows why, but it was fixing to wreck shit right downtown, near my building.

The whole thing was over pretty quick, but the aftermath, I watched well into the night. The unmarked helicopters and trucks rolling in from nowhere and the big white quarantine tent popping up over the carnage. I could see her buzzing around down there, shooting up to the tops of the towers now and then. I think she looked back at me a couple times to see if I was still watching.

By midnight the whole site was cleaned up. The tent pulled down. Just a crater there in the street, surrounded by construction cones and flashing, orange warning lights. And when the work was done, that’s when she came back to my fire escape.

I turned and saw her hovering there beside me, one foot lifted. All curves and skin-tight. I looked right at her--right into her eyes--and offered her a drink.

And that’s how it started.


Frumpy Girl is sitting at her desk with a serious expression on her face, like there’s somewhere she has to be. Then she bolts. What does she even do here? No one cares that she comes and goes?

I pull up my browser and search for local, breaking news. It’s all happening live. Another one of those metal things. This city can’t catch a break.

Then she shows up on the scene and ends the destructions.

Now, she’s pulling people from the rubble. Guiding rescue helicopters. I think I saw her dump the contents of a rooftop water tower on a burning tree in the park.

Damn, she’s going to be horny tonight.

Photo by Brenton Salo

Photo by Brenton Salo

Sure enough, she’s lying under me, now. Her skin is impossibly smooth and taut. I bite her neck hard--hard enough to draw blood--but it doesn’t even leave a mark. I slide down between her legs, bite the insides of her thighs. She looks at me with fingers curled in front of her mouth, holding her breath as if she were afraid I might actually be able to hurt her. I kiss the short, soft hair, then nuzzle her with my nose. When I nibble on her, she quivers, so I nip at her. She screams.

“Sorry,” I say, as if I hadn’t just probed her, hadn’t just sought out her weakness--and found it. Her point of vulnerability. Of course it would be here, between her legs, the soft skin, the seat of pleasure.

But she begs me not to stop.

Afterward, she just lies there, oblivious, like we “made love” or something. She curls up next to me and talks. I don’t get her, the stuff she talks about. You’d think she’d regale me with tales of her exploits, or whatever. But after she comes, that self-satisfied glow disappears. Now she’s saying, “This isn’t me. Not really. No one sees the real me. I’m not sure why I hang onto that other identity. No one sees her. But isn’t that who I really am? Before I had these powers? Isn’t that me?”

She buries her face in my chest, so I kiss her atop her head, stroke her hair; I’m pretty sure I can wind her up again for another round.


Months pass. I notice things no one else does; I put pieces together. It’s like my own super power. I watch the news. I watch the girl watching me. My nighttime visitor comes to my fire escape with consistency. I’m making connections; a pattern emerges.

I know when the next attack will come.

I suppose I could tell her. Waltz over to her little cubicle and just say it. That would make her job easier. How surprised she’d be. But, no; I have another plan; I know her weaknesses.

Photo by Brenton Salo

Photo by Brenton Salo

The day comes. I’m electric. I don’t look at her all day, but I can feel her eyes on me. I wait until I hear a boom from a few blocks away; she has that serious look on her face. I wait a beat longer--a beat before she heads for the door--then I say, “Trish, right? Can I see you in my office?”

Her blue-fish-eyes don’t swim; they fix on me, her mouth open and mute.

I have this certain smile I give to the girls who know I’m out of their league and aren’t sure why I’m talking to them. It’s reassuring, in a condescending way, confirming their feelings of inadequacy while letting them know this is a one time thing, don’t pass it up. I give her that smile.

“It’s--Trisha,” she says. That’s what I wanted to hear; I know she’ll follow me.

“Trisha. Right,” I say and we go to my office. It’s just a few feet away; I take my time, my body tingling with every stretched-out second I burn.

Somewhere on Broadway, people are very likely dying.

“I--I have to--” she begins to say, but lying is obviously not her forte.

I face her, sit on the edge of my desk and look her up and down.

“You’re the one who puts together the agenda for the staff meetings, aren’t you?”

She nods, then looks toward Broadway, as if she might fly right out the window.

I laugh an easy laugh. “I was wondering who does that every week. They just sort of appear out of nowhere. But, you know what? We wouldn’t be able to get by without them.”

She just stares at me now.

I tell her, “I’m trying to say, ‘good work.’ I’d like to see more from you. Maybe--” I clear my throat, as if this were the first time I’d ever done anything like this. “--maybe we can get a drink and talk about your special skills.”

She looks terrified. “What special skills.”

Another boom rattles the windows.

“Is there construction going on out there?” I say, and laugh.

People are definitely dying.

“I have to go,” she says, and it sounds like the words are cutting their way out of her throat.

“Oh,” I say with a slow, disappointed breath. “Another time, then. I just wanted to tell you what a good job you’re doing. You probably don’t hear that enough. But I’ve been watching you for a while. And I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen.”


I wait for her at my apartment. It’s all been over for hours--the worst disaster in the city’s history. It got pretty close to my building, before she ended it.

I smoke my cigarettes and wait.

It ended too quickly. I need more. A release. I need her to come here, broken and miserable. I’m all wound up inside. Where is she? I’ve defeated her; where the fuck is she?


She doesn’t come to work the next day. I never see the girl with fishbowls over her eyes again. But I see her, soaring up there above the rooftops. She looks down, but not at me.

Photo by Brenton Salo

Photo by Brenton Salo

Next: The Witch of Hamilcar, TX, Part 1 06.19.15

Episode 4: The Last Request

His last request went like this: “When you put me in the dirt, put me in heavy. Keep it loaded.” They nodded, their long, dusty beards scratching the green-grey ink on their chests. “You’ll need it where you’re going,” the older of the two bikers said, then they killed and buried Kyle Davies beneath a grove of black oaks, right over top the unmarked grave of their brother--or as near as they could reckon.

When Davies came to, with the thistle-sharp fallen leaves stinging his back, his hand went first to his waist. He looked up at the thick, twisting oak branches below the twilight sky and fingered the pistol’s steel features. He wondered if the sun was coming up or going down--stale, warm air and the noise of insects--going down, then.

“Looks like my brothers finally got to you.”

The man leaned against the cracked bark of an oak trunk, chewing a length of dry straw. He held the straw up and examined it, dissatisfied. “God damn. What I wouldn’t give for a cigarette.”

Davies got to his feet, watching the man. He kept his hand away from his waist, allowing his shirt tails to fall over the gun grip. The bikers had nabbed him before he could even reach under his pillow for the gun; there should still be eight .45 caliber rounds in the magazine. Only eight. Best not to use them too soon--or show his hand

“Some sort of poetic justice burying you here, I guess.” The man coughed out a dry laugh.

“Yeah,” Davies said. “Who knew anyone would give a damn about a lowlife like you, Bill.”

Bill put the straw to his lips and shrugged. “It’s family. I know why you did me. It was for Donna. My brothers? Same thing.”

Davies nodded. “I see it that way, too.”

“I didn’t like doing it, Ky. It was just the money. I know you enjoyed it plenty when it came to me, though.”

Davies didn’t meet Bill’s eyes. He thought about the pistol. “You’re brothers were kinder to me.”

Bill chewed his straw. Davies pondered a little longer.

“Man,” he said at last, “I thought I’d run into more trouble on this side.”

Bill smiled, a smile as dry as his laugh. “You’ll have trouble, Ky. They’re gonna be hunting you.”

“But you’re not?”

“I’ve been here longer. I’m tired.”


Davies waded into the high, brittle grass beyond the diameter of the oak grove and found the cattle-trodden path. He trudged up the slope and at the crest he looked out west toward the coastal mountain range. The town nestled against the mountains twinkled in the evening glow. As he stood there, the din of insects, buzzing and chirping, sounded a little softer, a little sweeter than it should. It lulled him, reminded him the day was at its end. But he couldn’t rest. Not yet.

Down the other side of the rise he found the highway. He walked along it for awhile, thumb at the ready, but no headlights came or went. It was the same highway James Dean bought it on, but back the other direction; he wondered what that spot would look like from this side.

He kept on. Ahead the round-topped mountains were silhouettes, backlit by the setting sun. He walked on and on--an hour or more--but the sun never set. He heard the chug of an engine. A moment later he noticed the taillights and the reflection of headlights on the tall grass beside the road. He jogged closer.

An teenage boy lay curled up in the beams, like a fawn bedding down for the night. A white cross had been nailed to the barbedwire fence post here. Davies prodded the boy with the tip of his boot and the boy looked up with drooping lids.

“You okay there, kid?” Davies asked.

The kid smacked his lips and laid his head back down, tucking his fingers between his thighs.

Davies threw his hand in the direction of the vehicle. “I’m taking your car.”

The boy waved him away.


He got off on Union Road. The windows were dark in all the houses, but their porch lights were on and the streetlamps beamed down their amber rays. He crossed over Thirteenth and pulled off onto the dirt lot across the river from the utilities building. In the dry river bed, among the brush and scrub trees, a ribbon of dark silver stretched out from the south up and under the Thirteenth Street Bridge. He turned off the car and got out.

The sand and leaves crunched under his feet. He wondered what he’d find. When he came to the spot, she wasn’t there. He dug in the sand with his hands. Nothing. He stood and thought.

Donna’s body had been discovered right here, half buried in the sand. The deal was to pin it on a mental-case, transient guy everyone in town knew about; the poor bastard was probably still rocking in a padded cell at the state hospital. But Bill killed her. So Davies did Bill; but before he put Bill down, he had to get him to admit he was working for Donna’s uncle. Shit comes home to roost. Always.

Davies felt thirsty. He stepped over to the trickle of water running through the sandy bed, bent down, scooped some up and sucked it from his hands. It burned going down like the first taste of bourbon. Coughing he stood up. That’s when the noose came down over his neck.

Reaching for the .45 never crossed his mind. Instinct compelled him to claw at the cord around this throat. They dragged his flailing body through the growth and sand, cursing him all the way.

The big one, clean-shaved with a scar on his chin said, “You had this coming, Davies. You son of a bitch.”

The guy with the goatee trotted behind, smirking and kicking Davie’s ankles out every time he tried to gain his feet. Big’un tossed the end of the rope over a tree branch and now he was hoisting Davies up.

Davie’s toes left the ground, hovering above it mere inches and churning thin air. Big’un tied off the rope while goatee grabbed a fist full of Davies’ hair looked him in the face.

“About time you showed.”


They left him there, still kicking and clawing and making constricted cries. Davies struggle for a long time after they left, flashbulbs exploding in his brain. He chest felt like it might cave--the pain of emptiness. He grasped the length of rope above his head and tried to pull himself up, but couldn’t.

His chest never caved and the fireworks just kept going off. He let his body go limp tried to focus on the exploding lights, as if he were seeing them in his own eyes. The pain ever built in his chest, and yet never peaked, never reached the point of collapse. It occurred to him that this was his existence for the foreseeable future; he decided to make the best of it.

It became his world entire. He refused to think of Donna, of Bill, of the thugs he had killed and who put him here. Thoughts of revenge had no place in his new world of explosions and pain, of fractal shapes swirling behind his lids. A strong urge to sleep came over him.

And time passed.


Davies felt gravity, his body collapsing into a bony puddle. He breathed; his head cleared.

Bill said, “Wake up, Ky.”

Davies looked up, with blurred, sleepy eyes. His throat hurt too bad to talk. Bill squatted down.

“You’re not through, yet. Get your shit together,” Bill said, then looked off over his own shoulder toward the river bed. He made a weary sound. “Me on the other hand...”

Bill stood and walked off into the ever-darkening, never dark, evening.


At length, Davies pushed himself up and reclined against the tree trunk. He ran his hand against the riveted track along his throat; it didn’t hurt near as bad as it should. Nothing felt the way it should; it was like every nerve in his body just couldn’t be bothered to give a shit. He thought about Donna; if he found her, would they make love, or would they lay down, close their eyes for a moment, for an eternity?

After another length of time, Davies shimmied himself to a standing position, braced against the tree trunk. He stumbled back along the course of dragged dirt and matted brush his body had made and stopped at a certain point to feel around in the tall grass. He found the .45 half-buried in the dirt where it had slipped from his waist while he was struggling. The two thugs, it seemed, had not noticed.

He walked back to where Donna should have been and there found Bill lying face down, prostrate like a man bereaved. Davies left him there to rest.


He popped the magazine out and laid the gun on the hood of the car. He removed the slide, blew it out and rubbed it with his shirt tails. He disassembled the rest of the pistol, cleaned it as best he could, then put it all back together and cocked it. After that, he set off on foot across the Thirteenth Street Bridge, holding the gun at his side.

He crossed the 101 and kept on for three more blocks until he hit Pine Street and turned left toward the park a block away. He cut through the park following the path diagonal from one corner to the opposite corner. Under the streetlamp, he stood and looked across Spring Street at the brick, mission-style architecture of that historic inn.

The south wing of the building, the restaurant, was big and rounded and lined with windows where the booths were. It was mostly dark in there, except for the lights around a single booth where the two thugs sat throwing down cards and scowling at each others’ plays.

They heard the bell jingle when he walked through the door and rose expectantly from their benches. Davies shot the big one first--two rounds, but only one met its mark. The big man’s chest burst and he collapsed backward onto his bench, his outstretched arm swiping cards onto the ground.

The other man cursed Davies. “We gonna keep doing this forever?” he said, and Davies wasn’t sure if it were a question or a threat. In either case, only one answer made sense; Davies fired two more shots. The first bullet missed the man, second passed through his neck.

The man clutched his throat, covering the wound; blood poured out of his mouth, running into his goatee. He looked almost confused, more confused than when he actually died.


Davies found the old man in his usual room, sitting under the lamp, reading from a Gideon; the door was ajar. The old man looked up from the scriptures as Davies came in, regarding him with a friendly smile. “Heard you down there,” he said.

Davies stood with the gun at his side, his face in shadow.

The old man gave out an easy laugh. “I’m sorry if you don’t terrify me standing over there in the dark.” He gestured at the open book on his lap. “Death. Where is it’s sting now?”

“Your  men came after me,” Davies said.

“And you robbed them of their satisfaction. But what did they expect? The water doesn’t even quench your thirst here. Why would revenge be any different.”

“I don’t want revenge. Where’s Donna?”

The old man held his smile, but his eyes told a different story.

“She’s here, of course. In this old hotel, actually. She came to me, you know.”


The old man thought. “Can I ask you something before you go?”

“Where’s Donna?”

“Just--talk to me for a moment.”

The men looked at each other, the one making an effort to appear inviting.

“Sit,” said the old man, with a gesture. “Good. I’m curious. Who runs this town now?”

Davies made an indifferent gesture.

The old man prodded him, “Mexicans? Bikers?”

“I have seen bikers,” Davies offered.

The old man’s grin turned malicious. “You see, I never allowed such elements in my day. Now there will be drugs in the schools--all manner of immorality. I, at least, kept it outside the city limits.”

“I weep over the unintended consequences of my actions,” Davies deadpanned.

“Did you know she blackmailed me?” the old man said, as if changing tack.

“You denied her her inheritance.”

The old man made an irritated sound. “She’d have shot it into her arm.”

“Maybe she would have gotten help. I would have gotten her help.”

“You think she loved you? You’re just a bodyguard she paid by spreading her legs.”

For the first time since this long twilight began, Davies felt an acute emotion. But, though the old man’s words stabbed him, he made no reply.

“You know she did the same for me? Manipulated me. Her own uncle. And then she had the nerve to blackmail me. As if I forced myself.”

“She was a child, then,” Davies said simply.

“That’s not how I remember it.”

Davies stood. “Your men looked sleepy down there. You look like you’ll be sitting here a long time. I don’t think you’ll ever rest.”

The old man looked up at him and Davies could see in his eyes this prophecy rang terrifyingly true.

Davies stopped at the open door and said, over his shoulder, “What did she say to you? When she came here?”

“Why don’t you ask her yourself?” the old man said, his amicable facade now vanished. “I watched her fall asleep in one of these rooms.”

“No. I won't wake her.”


He found the car where he left it. Sitting in the driver’s seat, he watched the dark mountain range and skyline that never quite slept. He wanted to see the sun waning against the flat horizon on the other side. He started the car.

The 101 took him south to the 46. On the 46, going west, he watched the sunlight flee at his approach and he realized--with only a vague melancholy--he’d never see the sun again.

On the other side of the mountains, he killed the car in the parking lot by the pier. The sea was grey, like the sky, with only a thin line of purple where the two met. He walked onto the sand. A rusty, wind-blasted swing set and jungle gym sat half buried right where he remembered it.

He leaned against the paint-chipped bars and drew the pistol from his waist. He release the magazine and thumbed out the remaining four rounds into the sand. For a long time, the shining horizon held his attention, but he knew he’d sleep soon.

Next: The Delilah Complex 06.12.14