Finally getting Ernie Baxter into the grave
Friday, Nov. 01, 2002 @ 12:48 am
I've been very busy being lazy for the past two weeks. Gearing up for Old Bastard Winter has my body acting as though hibernation is normal human behavior.
However, here is a quick note to say that despite my deep imprint on the couch, I've occupied recent late nights and early mornings finishing the final edits on my newest book, STAND UP ERNIE BAXTER: YOU'RE DEAD. The next few weeks will be spent working on the design with Chris Pew, and incorporating the comic illustrations done with great care by Mike Lowery. We're hoping to have it off to the printer by the end of the year, with copies available for sale early next year. This thing has been in the works far too long, and I'm thrilled that it's getting closer to being out and about.
Here are a few sample sentences which help introduce some of the characters found in the book:
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My name is Ernie Baxter, and my hands are tied. My history has passed to the memories and stories of my mother and ex-girlfriend. Bosses and co-workers. Bartenders and insurance agents. Friends and gym teachers.
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After returning from the cemetery, there was a gathering for food and quiet socializing. She saw them again, a bundle of Ernie’s friends over by the food trays. She thought maybe she should go over and speak to them. But each time she looked, she swore she saw Ernie standing among the group, drinking illegally, forgetting books for class, turning in homework late, shooting off loud fireworks, teasing dogs and talking about sex in all the wrong ways. Each time she thought she saw Ernie, she became hyper-aware of Dain standing at her side. He was getting drunk.
What an asshole!, she thought loudly in her own head, but when he offered to grab her another beer, Kyra accepted nonetheless.
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Mrs. Baxter was digging through the cabinets and she produced a box of salty, fake-cheese crackers and held them up for Kyra to see. “I still buy the darn things,” Mrs. Baxter explained. “I’ve always got to have a stockpile for when Ernie comes home for a visit.” She proceeded to rifle through the other cabinets and the refrigerator, pointing out items that her son couldn’t live without. Strawberry ice cream. Chocolate syrup for mixing with milk. Cheese-filled hot dogs. Frozen chicken nuggets. Marshmallow filled cookies. Shredded cheese for microwave nachos.
“And granola bars,” she said, suddenly crying again. “He’d eat granola in the mornings. Ernie at least started a day off on the right foot.” They both snickered briefly, blowing their running noses into the air involuntarily.
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Dain had attended Notre Dame. His family had lived two generations owning large areas of Chicago, and Dain got a kick out of the country life in the same way Kyra’s parents did. Somehow, they fit right in, as though money could buy the simple life and its rewards without the broken back of a plow, the dirty lungs of a ditch digger, or the crippled fingers of an assembly-line worker. Not that Kyra had met any people with jobs like these in Parker City over the years, but certainly she’d met folks who had worked at something.
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