00 – Prologue: Every Cabbie In Catalina

This is he Prologue to The Man Who Mastered Gravity, now available from Amazon and fine booksellers everywhere.




“Daddy, you can’t do this! You’ll kill yourself! Mother and I will have to go to San Antonio to bring back your body!”

 Townsend Brown packed his overnight bag, a travel-worn satchel, the kind that doctors once took on house calls. He shuffled papers into an equally battered attaché.

“I have to do this,” Townsend said. “I have to take these papers to San Antonio.”

“Daddy, who the hell is in San Antonio? Why can’t they come here? Why can’t you just mail these papers?”

Linda Brown was nearly forty years old. Her father was eighty and in failing health. His left lung had been removed a decade earlier – damaged, physicians suspected, by the ozone and radiation his body absorbed during decades of experimenting with high voltages and intense electrical fields. Now his right lung was showing similar symptoms.

Townsend and Josephine – his wife of more than 50 years – lived with Linda, her husband George, and their daughter, the five of them sharing a weather-beaten, World War II-vintage Quonset hut on the island of Santa Catalina, off the southern California coast. Father and daughter argued in a tiny bedroom cluttered with electronic instruments and sensors, the last vestiges of his life’s work, investigating the mysterious, cosmic force he called ‘sidereal radiation.’

“You can’t come with me,” Townsend said.

The words stung. For nearly two decades, Linda had been at her father’s side in his lab, moving equipment, twisting the wires in his inventions – whatever he needed, whatever he asked of her. Now she was afraid she’d never see him alive again.

Townsend had arranged for a helicopter to fly him to Long Beach, where he would board a private jet. He needed a cab to take him to the chopper. He reached for the phone.

“Go ahead Daddy,” Linda cried. “But remember, I know every cabbie on this island and not one of them is going to take you anywhere if I tell them not to.”

When the cab arrived, Townsend folded his fragile frame into the rear seat. He leaned out the window and took his daughter’s hand. “Don’t worry, Sweetie,” he said with the calming tone that had reassured her before so many similar departures. “Everything is going to be all right.”

 Linda let go of her father’s hand and watched the cab disappear.

The helicopter touched down in Long Beach, where a limousine waited to ferry Townsend to the charter. Peering through the windshield, he was pleased to see a muscular man of military bearing behind the wheel – the protégé he had recruited twenty years earlier: Morgan.


Who was Morgan?  What happened next?  Buy the book to find out!

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