Robert was born in Louisville, Kentucky, now resides in Zanesville, Ohio with his wife, Kris. Winner of numerous awards, including the Southern Playwright's Competition for KENTUCKY WINGS, the McLaren Comedy Playwriting Award for SEX WITHOUT PLIERS, semifinalist in the Amazing Breakthrough Novel Awards for A SUNDAY STROLL THROUGH THE ANT FARM (twice- 2009 and 2010), and others.
Besides writing, he enjoys painting and acting.
Excerpt from Holy Toledo and the Virgin Shirley:
Something wasn't quite right that morning.
The patterns on the bathroom walls seemed a little brighter. Or duller. And the toilet seemed a little higher. Or lower. Nathan pissed in it anyway, yawned, then stumbled to the kitchen to put on the coffee, which seemed to brew a little faster.
The cat seemed a little different, too. No morning meows, no "feed me" ritual which consisted of burrowing her head into Nathan's slippers as he tried to navigate his way across the worn, creaky floor boards of his upstairs apartment. Instead, the cat stood just inside the doorway, watching him warily.
"Hey, Missy." Nathan plopped his lanky frame onto a kitchen chair and patted his knee. "C'mere, girl." That usually worked, but this time it didn't. He sauntered to the cabinet, opened the squeaky door, pulled out the Meow Mix. That usually worked.
This time it didn't.
He filled her bowl, stepped back and watched with folded arms.
Missy watched him back.
"What's wrong, girl?" He moved toward her, got within a few feet and stopped. Missy's back was arched, her fur raised as if in full attack mode. She gave a parting hiss and shot from the room.
Holy shit. Poor thing's going senile on me.
He wondered how much longer the old girl would be around, remembered reading somewhere that the average lifespan of a house cat was somewhere between 12 to15 years. Aunt Twyla, his dad's much-younger sister, had presented him with the newly-weaned calico twelve years ago on his thirteenth birthday. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he was primarily a dog person, didn't understand cats, didn't particularly like them and was even a little afraid of them.
He remembered Aunt Twyla's gleaming smile and the way her blouse bowed open as she bent down to place little Missy on his lap. He remembered the way she made a big fuss of readjusting the kitten several times on his lap and the way her delicate hands sort of/kind of accidentally brushed against his crotch each time. "Does Nathie likey?"
Far too much.
Even at thirteen he knew she was treading on forbidden territory and wanted nothing to do with her or the cat. Still, he had to be polite to his drop-dead gorgeous, vampish aunt who wanted for all the world to be a professional model back then.
Nathan poured himself a cup of coffee in mid-brew. It was darker than usual, and he shook an extra dose of powdered creamer into the cup.
His cell phone rang. It was Shirley. "Somebody's watching me," she said.
"That's what I said."
"Where are you?"
"In my apartment. Where else would I be?"
"Just asking. Somebody's there in your apartment?"
"I don't know. I mean, I can't see anybody but I can feel it, you know?"
"Maybe it's one of your dad's goons. Look out the window and see if you see a strange car parked outside."
"This is different, Nathan. I just...sense something. I don't know how to explain it."
"Like a ghost, you mean?"
"No, I don't think so."
"Maybe he has the place bugged. Maybe that's what you're picking up."
Shirley was always picking up something, sensing something, smelling something, going ape-shit about something. She found messages in everything--dreams, grocery receipts, spilled coffee grounds, egg shells and tarot cards--probably 50 decks of the goddamn things stashed all over her apartment. More recently she claimed to be picking up voices--whispering voices.
"This has nothing to do with my father, Nathan."
"Okay, are your doors locked?"
"Of course they're locked."
"Double-check to make sure. I'll be there in ten minutes."
"I don't think that's such a good idea."
"You know how Dad is. He doesn't want you over here anymore."
"Fine, then call 911."
"You don't have to be a dick, Nathan. I thought it would be comforting to hear your voice, to receive a little support from you. But I guess that's too much to ask."
"Doesn't sound like."
"Look, you're nineteen years old, for Christ's sake. How much longer do you plan on living under your father's thumb?"
"Until the election's over. We've talked about this a thousand times. You'll just have to be patient."
"Do you want me to come over or not?"
There was a long pause. "Okay. But don't get caught. Park the car around the corner by the blue dumpster."
He sighed, louder than he meant to.
"I'm sorry, Nathan, but we have to be careful."
"Thanks for putting up with me. I really, really mean that. Most guys wouldn't have anything to do with me under these circumstances. I want you to know how much I appreciate it."
"Just let yourself in. You still have your key, right?"
"Yep, got it."
"Give the secret knock before entering so I'll know it's you."
"Right. See you in a few."
"I love you, Nathan."
"I love you too."