I am Chris Allen Lynch, aspiring author. You have, by accident or design, stumbled across my web page.
I have (read on-line) been told that a successful author needs a web page and since it my greatest desire to be one of those, here it is.
I was born in Ohio in 1959 and a short few years later my parents left town in a red Ford station Wagon and headed for Washington State. As I recall there was a leprechaun on the roof of the car and it was a really long drive.
I grew up, attended school, got immunized, got a job and bought a string of junky old cars all in Skagit Valley. I moved away then moved back and am, for now, still, in the Valley.
I have been a husband, a father, a traveler, a pilot, a hiker and other things (a shit head) as well as a manufacturing employee. I am currently still most of those things. I like to think that I look at the job title situation with a twist. Like a person with gender leanings that are not aligned with their bodies, so am I not aligned with my employment. I am a manufacturing employee who identifies as all of the other things, father, pilot, blah, blah. I thought about becoming a commercial pilot and actually continue to make that threat but ultimately just took the lazy route and stuck it out for the easy money and free coffee at the refinery.
I have loved being a father the most. My kids might read this and go “huh?” but there it is, out of the closet and now on the internet and so obviously true. I have really enjoyed being a parent. Someday maybe I’ll write about that but for now just trust the internet.
I have been sharing land slavery and marriage (is that redundant?) with my wife Teri, for somewhere between five and fifteen years, depending on how you define what it is you are accounting. We have a little hobby farm as well as a vacation rental, four dogs, some cats a tractor and occasionally some of our offspring milling about (when we can get them to come home). We love our place, which was the only alternative to hating it and burning it down after reality dawned on us and we realized that we were five years into a three year project and only half done. So, instead of blowing it up, we bought an excavator. What I’m saying is, the excavator made it all better (until I ran out of excuses to keep it). Take that to heart though guys, if things are getting rough, buy an excavator, it will make everything better (and burying the bodies is easier). You can check out our place at www.singingdogfarm.com or www.vrbo.com #633042.
A pilot, God I love that. I am currently restoring a 1954 Cessna Skywagon which is roughly airplane number eight. There are very few things in life better than watching the earth propel down and away from you through the universe. My favorite flying is back-country stuff in Idaho or the southwest. Somehow the farm took up a lot of that time but it’s sated and full now, burping as it digests my blood and sweat while I sneak away quietly and strap on my airplane. I am really hoping to finish up my commercial license one of these days and segue into aerial banner towing. So, when you look up and see a cool looking Skywagon towing a sign that says “Read Side Road to Nevada on Amazon.com”, that’ll be me. Be sure and wave.
And, the real purpose of this site is to promote my writing! So, to that end:
Side Road to Nevada
Here is my first introduction to the story. I really struggled with the non-genre nature of the piece. A newer and more streamlined version comes after.
“Side Road to Nevada” is a character driven, lightly science fiction story with an undercurrent of moral struggle and a tragic twist. When destiny brings two young men together alongside a desolate, Oregon road, they form a bond that, despite their contrasts, carries them through years of friendship and into co-ownership of a wildly successful Montana pub.
Trevor is the main protagonist, a good looking, troubled, twenty-something. He comes from a rough background and has an unreliable moral compass and a rickety self-image that he props up with women’s attention. Trevor finds that walking the weird line of his friendship with Sammy can be alternately taxing and fulfilling and is a fluid situation that he rarely understands and always doubts.
The real substance of the story is Sammy and his struggle to navigate the moral sides of his potentially life changing inventions. Sammy is a complicated, guitar playing, once in twenty generations genius. He is a very young professor who walked away from MIT with a brain full of the kind of knowledge that is truly a big enough lever to move the planet. He is a man of stark contradictions who is compelled to pursue his cold fusion and time manipulation theories away from the eyes of the academia (and the government, he claims) and prove to himself that he is either right or wrong. He is also saddled with a deep morality and struggles with a building belief that the world will not actually benefit from his developments. This question leaves him grappling with the weighty choice between possibly saving humanity or spending his life playing in a bar band.
Through the journey this story takes, the two friends counterpoint each other from the time they meet up alongside a broken down vehicle all the way until they buy an old bank building and build their business and a warm circle of close friends. Hovering on the periphery of their lives and woven through the story is a question though, some things seem amiss. Trevor suspects his friend is not exactly who he claims to be and that Sammy’s sanity may be problematic. That question remains unresolved however, as Trevor has not completely ruled out the possibility that there actually are factions of the government on Sammy’s trail. While a kind Sammy is living the parallel paths of dazzling research scientist, rock guitarist, and occasional dishwasher and fry cook, he is much more understanding of Trevor’s compulsive need to prove to his parents that he is not a failure. Ultimately Sammy ends up giving in to his friend’s desperate craving for validation even while knowing the cost to himself might be high, it is ultimate. The tragedy is devastating. All is lost, or is it? There are unexpected facets to the story yet to be found. Read Side Road to Nevada and see where is goes!
After discretely hitchhiking away from MIT (and out from under the eyes of the government, he claims) Sammy, a young and amazing genius, meets Trevor, a troubled twenty something from a bad background. The two discover they are traveling abstractly parallel paths through their individual moral struggles. One is trying to understand how to broaden his horizons to include goals loftier than supporting his ego with women’s attention and the other is walking the famously difficult choice between saving the world and playing guitar in a bar band.
Through this passage, the two young men counterpoint each other in a close friendship, but hovering on the periphery of their lives are some nagging questions, some things seem amiss. Trevor suspects his friend is not exactly what he claims to be and that Sammy’s sanity may be problematic. That question remains unresolved however, as Trevor has not completely ruled out the possibility that there actually are factions of the government on Sammy’s trail. Trevor finds that friendship with the brilliant Sammy can be alternately taxing and fulfilling and is a fluid situation that he rarely understands and always doubts.
The situation grows progressively more complicated as the two go into business together in parallel with Sammy pursuing his world changing research on the side while Trevor begins looking for ways to feed his emergent, gnawing hunger to prove he is a success. Sammy continues his personal struggle to understand if humanity is worth saving while quietly trying to help his friend save himself. Their side road to Nevada turns out to have dangerous turns and the tension builds to an extreme twist and an unexpected ending.
This one seems better liked by friends who have read the book.
1/13/2016 Here is a micro story I wrote. It is obviously pointed at my favorite website www.backcountrypilots.org
Entering the library, Zack was unaware of the expensive clothes or the disgusted look from the man he passed in the doorway. Zack headed straight to his favorite PC, relieved to find it vacant. As oblivious to the goings on around him as most teenagers, he didn’t notice the warm plastic seat or the elegant stranger, now standing just outside of the building and talking on a cell phone and looking back and watching him.
Zack logged in on the machine and started cruising his emails. He liked thinking of them as emu’s and with the endless ability of youth to find humor in repetition, giggled every time when he pictured a large bird, blindfolded and being shot with each punch of the send button. The carnage was spare that day, he didn’t have many to send out. Virtually wriggling with anticipation, he closed Outlook and, breathing a pent up sigh of relief, opened the flight simulator program. He pulled up the aircraft selection page with pleased expectation, today would be the day to master the Extra 300.
The program was being really glitchy (the E equivalent of bitchy, he thought). It offered only some business jet that Zack didn’t recognize. What was even stranger was that the one selection occupied all of the normal spots that the other planes had been in before. The same business jet was repeated seventeen times. This wasn’t a glitch, just like his brother said Mom was sometimes, this was on-the-rag! Zack was seriously disappointed, he really didn’t like jets. He preferred the noisy continuum of controlled explosions that defined piston motors over the oily, unctuous roar of seamlessly burned kerosene. Besides, all of the guys on Back Country Pilots flew piston motors, at least for their private rides.
He selected one of the seventeen clones and went to work checking out the cockpit. In all of his fourteen years, Zack had never, in real life, been off the ground (besides a few times he jumped from the garage roof) but he had read a lot of expired training manuals. He had liberated several from of the garbage at the flight school down the road from his house.
Like any good zealot, Zack checked the BCP website a couple of times every day to see what the guys were doing. Once in a while he cruised some of the other aviation websites but had kind of curtailed that ever since he’d had his run in with some captain guy over a few comments Zack had posted to his thread. He made a comment about CG on a Maule versus a C180 and the guy had told him to go build another balsa wood airplane. Zack had called him a fucktard. He really liked that word (He’d heard one of the old guys at the airport using it) and had wanted to use it for a long time. Spamming the captain guy with that as his new name was just a lot of fun and after his little tiny bit of hacking, Zack figured that “Fucktard” had shown up on the guy’s thread at least twelve thousand times. Zack concentrated on trying to figure out the odd looking business jet.
He scanned the screen, sorting out all of the gadgets and switches that he could identify. The yoke and throttles were easy and then there was a gear switch (Zack always thought the wheel shape of gear switches was funny). He got the flaps and thrust reversers sorted out and then got bored with the exercise and resorted back to the program buttons for each function. Zack prided himself on always flying as if he was really flying. He tried to use checklists, just like he had read about, sometimes even making up his own. He tried to never crash but then again, there were limits to a fifteen year old’s patience. Zack moused the throttles forward and the computer generated image began zig zagging as Zack punched the buttons for right and left brake while wishing again, that the library would buy joy sticks or yokes. Pretty soon he had the image of a runway lined up in the screen.
He quickly configured the view so that he could see the most relevant gauges at the bottom of the image and still have a good view out the windshield. He used the buttons to advance the throttles and the CGI business jet surged forward. Zack called off the speeds to himself, watched as the needle rolled passed the bottom of the white arc and, pretending that he had the correct calculated speed for weight and conditions and said “Rotate” to himself and moved the mouse backward to initiate rotation. He switched his attention to the AI and kept up scanning the Airspeed. “Gear up” he called to himself and moused the wheel shaped switch up. He wondered where he was flying and was trying to decide what he would do next when the screen suddenly switched to a completely different view from the one he had been flying.
The image that occupied the screen now was similar to the view from the CGI aircraft. It even looked very much like the panel of the aircraft the flight sim had forced on him but this image did not look CGI, it looked filmed. As Zack watched, the camera panned from panel and yoke, slowly slewing to the right across the copilot’s panel and to the co-pilot’s chair. And then things got really weird. The copilot’s chair was not empty. Zac saw legs first. Blue jean clad legs that were duct taped down. The pan continued to the body attached to the legs, also duct taped to the seat. What the capital F was this, Zack thought as the rest of the person smoothly rolled into the center of the screen? There was more duct tape, apparently a young woman’s body, attached to it was the face of Zack’s crush, Sarah Smith.
Zack’s palms began sweating as he tried to understand what he was seeing. Sarah was frightened and looking at the camera as it continued it’s steady, slow pan around to the right. Soon the passenger area became visible and Zack could see more people. He was pretty sure that he recognized Sarah’s Mom and her sister and, Oh God, Zack’s best friend Mat, all taped in. Zack’s palms were freely sweating and he wiped them on his pants as the insane camera continued on around. That image suddenly blanked and was replaced by very brief static and then a smooth green screen.
“Who is the fucktard now?” rolled across in bold text, followed by a moving map screen. Zack could see an airplane icon moving across it and recognized the area of Idaho that was north of Boise. He knew enough to assume that the jet had just left Caldwell and could see clearly that is was flying east. More text appeared.
“So, shithead, you have been a snot nosed asshole to the wrong guy. Whenever picking enemies, try to avoid rich ones with a very well developed sense of vengeance and access to brilliant IT guys with no morals, that’s me.” The text went on spooling across the screen, “The aircraft is configured as a drone. You are at the helm. As you saw, I cruised your Facebook account and picked a few of your favorites and then sent some of my friends out to invite them along for a ride. I am currently in control of the aircraft but, after I finish with your instructions, you will become captain, shithead! Here is your mission, whether you want it or not. Fly the aircraft to Garden Valley and land safely there and your friends live. Crash and, they die, easy. You will have complete control of the aircraft but only as long as you stay within 20 degrees and 40 miles of the correct flight path and destination. Also, my employees have hacked your phone and any calls or texts will result in an immediate nose down over-ride. I also have a microphone placed near you and yelling will have the same result. Good luck you little fuck. I hope this haunts you the rest of your shitty little life and next time you want to sling names around the internet, figure out who you are calling a fucktard.”
The screen returned to the CGI version with the addition of a small moving map in the lower right hand corner. Zack’s palms were sweating insanely as he maneuvered the mouse to control the aircraft. He felt like barfing, really barfing, like he could blow chunks across the room and splatter them on the window. He was scared. He fished his phone out of his pocket and praying that web surfing was not on the list of things that would get his friends killed, pulled up a map of the area.
“Shit!” he said half out loud. The screen showed the jet to be half way there! Zack was scanning his Map Quest screen and trying like crazy to figure out what to do. He punched the buttons that retarded the throttles and watched the airspeed bleed off. More buttons for nose up trim and the jet was down to 250 knots. He was making up his mind on an approach path and guessing what speed and configuration he should hold, while repeatedly wiping his palms on the legs of his pants. Garden Valley was about fifteen miles away. Zack retarded the throttles farther and dropped in some flaps.
Zack knew his friends had a one shot chance at living and he didn’t intend to waist that shot. Even though he was terrified, he continued maneuvering the aircraft, thanking God that the keys he knew by heart were connected through the drone program to the actual controls of the aircraft and wondering how the heck this had all happened. He knew the BCP guys had been through worse things, he’d read every one of those stories word by word and he knew that those guys could do this. He could too.
He knew how to land the flight sim’s 172 and he’d done some arguably survivable crashes of the heavy jets. He hoped to heck this wasn’t really happening at all but was pretty sure that it was. He wiped his palms again for the millionth time and wondered what Sarah and Mat were thinking and whether they had been hurt when the crazy bad guy had them kidnapped. He said a little prayer and retarded the throttles more and then punched in more flaps. Zack knew that a pilot was supposed to make calls or something on the radio before landing but that didn’t even seem like a possibility and he had no idea how anyway. He just hoped that nobody else was flying in there right now.
The indications showed that the jet was still above the bottom of the white and the runway appeared to be lined up on the nose. Zack knew that some of the Back Country guys did what was called, being-on-the-back-side-of-the-power-curve and that some of them thought that might get you slowed down more for a short field landing (he was pretty sure some of them thought that wasn’t so smart too). He figured that Garden Valley was a really short field for a jet like this so he trimmed the throttle a little more and pitched up until the airspeed showed right at the bottom of the white arc. Zack had full flaps in now and was having to add power to stay above the stall when he remembered the gear. He made a wild stab, threw some power on and punched the gear down buttons instead of mousing the little wheel.
The image was wobbling a little then and Zack thought that might mean he was about to stall so he punched up a little more power and kept working the mouse up and down to hold right at the bottom of the white and even a little below. He could feel sweat in his eyes and his palms were flat out wet but he didn’t dare budge a seconds worth of concentration away as the gravel and grass runway came rushing toward the screen. Right before touchdown, Zack punched up the throttle keys, quickly up and then down, hoping that, like some of the BCP posts had said, that this really worked to arrest a steep descent into the flare. The screen showed the aircraft to be on the ground and the trees at the far end were very quickly becoming the trees on the near end. He wildly punched the brake buttons and then remembered thrust reversers but the image on the screen was showing tree images passing through the aircraft. Zack sat stunned and nauseated staring at a blank screen and a now dead computer.
An elderly man was walking by and patted Zack on the shoulder, said “Those dang computers aren’t like the real thing son, get some flying lessons one of these days, you’ll love it.” he walked off.
Zack leaned over and quietly lost his lunch into the waste basket. When the nausea passed, he hung his head briefly, then removed the garbage bag and tied it then walked slowly out of the library. He dropped the left over (and regurgitated) lunch into the garbage can then trudged home on weak knees to wait for news.
Unsure of whether to feel hopeful or to simply give in to the huge dark cloud of despair that was hovering over him and threatening to suck the very life from his soul, he dropped onto his bed and waited.
The NTSB report read in part: ...”Probable cause was act of air piracy with remote operation of aircraft carrying passengers”…”Three injuries, no fatalities”…
Zack went on to lose his virginity about three months after the crash to his crush Sarah (after she got the casts off). As he grew up, he become a successful code writer and ultimately owned and flew both a Maule and a Skywagon. Sarah also became a pilot (and joined BCP), and later still, Zack’s wife. He was a lifelong financial contributing member of Back Country Pilots.org.