– Journey to Excellence


Shemnock Helms & Dentist Botsun in the Mysterious Case of the Odditot Family

The first of the Shemnock stories was done as a radio play and can be heard below or from this site’s turntable. The Case of the Uninvited Zombie introduces Shemnock and his assistant, Dentist Botsun, as they unwind a mysterious case that revolved around the Halloween party we were preparing for the small office where I worked at the time. Many thanks to my son, Troy, who performed in it.

This short book about The Odditot Family follows up on the fame and acclaim generated by the original story as Shemnock sets out to solve a mysterious case centered around missing persons and accusations of cannibalism! More bizarre yet, the atrocities are allegedly perpetrated against innocent children! As is quickly becoming the standard, Dentist Botsun provides ballast to a sometimes overwhelmed Helms. This short story is based loosely around the particular attributes of my children, who I never ever ate. It is dedicated to them, and children everywhere.


Amazon photo

Shemnock Helms & Dentist Botsun in the Mysterious Case of the Odditot Family
Childrens, Comedy, Crime, and Mystery

eBook and Paperback
Richard C. Crossley

Material & Workmanship

I could be totally off the mark on this. It wouldn’t be the first time for sure, but the story I got was that Troy came across this old piano and started tinking about with it. He looked up the instruments manufacturer and discovered a bit about them, and the business of making pianos, and obviously a bit about how so many of these proud companies eventually went broke. All that research is just a small part of this song, that reaches much deeper and touches what no doubt will be different chords in every listener. For me, this touches a deep spot I’m not sure I have yet fully plumbed. Maybe I’ve just become an old softie. This was submitted to the Tiny Desk competition in 2018.


Performance by Troy Crossley.
Thanks to Daniel Earle for filmography.

This audio is a studio cut. The youtube vid below is a one shot rough cut. Enjoy both!

LYRICS -Material and workmanship

Material and workmanship, fully warranted.
Werner piano co, located in Chicago

Material and workmanship, fully warranted
oh They said they’d always be there, making sure your shit don’t slip

Now where have you gone
left to crumble midst the dust of time
and you were swept up in the tides of the depression

Now the chiming through the halls don’t guide your days anymore
No songs to welcome the sunrise or end out your night
No melodies to keep your spirits high
Where are you now?

You know the keys don’t play themselves like before
up there in Chicago — ooo ooo


but I follow every time my mind catches on the breeze
your words they echo, your memories cut through like a knife
but you never would have made it in this life
where are you now

nobodies buying player pianos anymore
they should have switched to the banjo
— switched to the banjo… ooo

Music, lyrics, & performance by Troy J. Crossley – All rights reserved.

"Fully Warrented " Tiny Desk Submission 2018
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Material & Workmanship
Anthology, Biography, and Philosophy

Troy J. Crossley