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NEW NEW *** Catamount ***NEW NEW

19 Aug

Congratulations to Stephen M DeBock on his new release from GSP, Catamount.



Allen Foss, a 22-year-old college senior with a history of tormenting his teachers and pissing off his peers, has found two new targets and marked them for humiliation: goodie-two-shoes classmate Melanie Foster and current professor Diana Darcy, a “cougar” 16 years his senior.

Following Melanie’s downfall and disgrace at a fraternity party, Allen concentrates on getting into Professor Darcy’s good graces—and into her bed. But what he doesn’t know is that the beautiful professor—a Native American Indian, mysteriously abandoned by her tribe while still a baby—has an agenda, and a secret, of her own.

Some cougars, it seems, are not meant to be tamed.


“Come on, Professor, get real.” Allen Foss proceeded to interrupt the classroom lecture for the nth time. “This supernatural garbage is just . . . bullshit . . . and everyone in this room knows it, they’re just afraid to say you’re wrong.”

The others in the lecture hall looked from him to their instructor, wondering when his constant and unwarranted goading would drive her over the edge.

She merely smiled and gave him that enigmatic look which made her seem as if she were enjoying her own private joke. “Surely, Mr. Foss, we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable?”

“What’s being disagreeable?” he demanded.

The student next to him whispered from the side of his mouth. “Your language, asshole. Your tone of voice. And your butting in without raising your hand like us common folk.”

Professor Darcy gave a nod toward the boy, who looked surprised that she’d heard him. “Mr. Foss, all I ask is that you afford me the same level of respect that I afford you.”

“Whether you deserve it or not,” whispered the girl seated on the other side of him. “And you don’t.”

Allen looked at the floor and then back up, his eyes meeting the teacher’s. “All right, I’ll raise my hand from now on. But come on, you can’t be serious about this shape-shifter sh—crap.”

Diana Darcy raised an eyebrow. “Unless I’m mistaken, this is a class on the influence of superstition on social norms throughout history, is it not? Did you read the syllabus before you signed up, Mr. Foss? And if this course is a complete and utter waste of your time, why ever did you enroll, if I may be so bold?”

“You may be so bold,” he said, not giving an inch. “I need a couple electives before I can graduate, and everybody says you’re an easy A.”

The other seniors shook their heads, or rolled their eyes, or mumbled to themselves. Some did all three. Darcy was a great professor, one of the best. She was the genuine article, a teacher who connected with and cared for her students, engaging them and entertaining them as she enlightened them. Her classes were always full.

But there’s always that ten percent who think themselves oh so sophisticated and look for any opening to challenge the teacher. And Allen Foss was that figurative ten percent all by himself. How Professor Darcy managed to keep her cool the students didn’t know. But the fact that she could, elevated her status among them all the more.

Allen wasn’t done. “I guess I just screwed myself out of that A, didn’t I?”

“I hold no grudges, Mr. Foss.”

He mumbled to himself, “Maybe I could screw myself into an A. She’s hot enough.”

“Now you’re being disrespectful.” Again that amazing sense of hearing, almost supernatural in itself. “And you’ve already broken your word about raising your hand.”

“Yeah,” said the boy next to him. “Just shut your mouth, asshole.”

But Allen still wasn’t done. “Changing the subject, I’m curious. I mean, what are you doing teaching anyway? You’re a good-looking woman, you should be married already and home raising your kids. That’s what my mother was doing when she was forty.”

“Way to make points,” muttered the girl. “She’s thirty-eight. Jeez, what’s wrong with you?”

Allen glanced at the professor’s blouse. “Thirty-eight, yeah, I can believe that.”

“Foss! Shut! Up!” called someone from the back of the hall, and virtually everyone echoed his cry.

“Thank you all,” said the professor. “Mr. Foss, if you’ve anything more to say, whether outrageous or not, you may communicate it during office hours. Now if you’ll excuse me, I intend to sprinkle some of that bovine excrement you mentioned around the room. After all, it makes excellent fertilizer, and perhaps it will nourish these budding minds and help them grow.”

A boy in the back began clapping, loudly and slowly. Seconds later, the others joined in, until Allen Foss stormed from the hall, slamming the door behind him. Everyone breathed again. Some gave each other high fives.

“Now that we’ve weeded the garden,” Dr. Darcy said, “perhaps we can continue.” The class laughed, then grew serious again. “We mentioned earlier that while Germany claims the franchise on werewolves, other cultures report different were-creatures in their midst. India, for example, has were-tigers, Africa has were-leopards and -hyenas, American Indians have were-bears and were-pumas; also, were-jaguars in the southern continent, extending into our own Southwest. Remember, the word were means man, but that’s a generic term. Were-creatures can be either sex. If they exist at all,” she added.

A girl raised her hand. “How about vampires? Did people believe they were, uh, were-bats?”

“Good one. Vampire lore originated in Central Europe and had nothing to do with the bats explorers found much later in the New World. That said, when they discovered the blood-suckers, it was only natural to name them after the vampires from their folklore.” She seemed to think for a moment. “The bats, I’m told, neither knew about nor cared what they were called. Which leads one to wonder about nomenclature, doesn’t it? Does a dog know it’s a dog? Or a cat, a cat? Native American Indians—and I know something about this—simply called themselves the People.”

They nodded as the professor checked her watch. “Why the architect who put the wall clock up front, where you all can count down the class time remaining, instead of in the back of the room where only I can see it, I will never know. See you tomorrow, and make sure you keep up with the reading. You’re big boys and girls now, I shouldn’t have to remind you.”

The room cleared, with some of the students making solicitous comments about her constant harangues from Allen Foss, and the professor returning their remarks with a non-committal nod and a smile. Melanie Foster, the girl who by dint of alphabet was assigned to the seat beside him, approached her and said, “I don’t know how you put up with him. I’d have killed him long ago.”

About the author:

Stephen DeBock writes on just about any topic but for fun concentrates on sci-fi/fantasy adventure and supernatural fiction.

As a teenager, Steve would entertain (and frighten) the neighborhood children by retelling them stories from E.C. horror comics like The Crypt of Terror. As a middle school teacher, he continued the tradition by reading his students a horror story to initiate the school year. Now retired, he has time to write his own stories.

His first writing success came as a high school senior, when a 25-word essay won him an all-expenses-paid vacation in Alaska. Upon his return he entered the Marines and was chosen to serve in the President’s Honor Guard. Vignettes from that venue have appeared in American Heritage magazine and in various newspapers. 

Upon leaving the Corps, Steve worked days, went to college at night, and spent weekends earning a private pilot’s certificate. A flying narrative he wrote was published in AOPA Pilot Online. 

During his teaching career, Steve garnered an award by the State of New Jersey for his work in consumer education. He served briefly as a consultant for Consumers Union and contributed to essays in Time magazine, ABC’s World News Tonight, and CNBC.

Having founded and later sold a video rental business, Steve and his wife also sold their home and lived for three years aboard a 42-foot sea-going trawler yacht. An article describing one of their summer cruises was sold to Living Aboard magazine.

Steve has written newsletters for both private and non-profit organizations; a flash fiction story for the children’s magazine Spider; and the text for a coffee-table book on one of America’s most-collected living artists: The Art of H. Hargrove.