a novella, forthcoming Sept 2019 from Cowboy Jamboree Press
A local wrestling legend comes home as the independent circuit swings through a small Texas town one Saturday night in the Fall of 1997 in this novella. Paul wants to go to the matches if he can get past his drunk stepdad. Lisa wants to leave town altogether but her dad is dying to take her to the show. A week of anxiety and hope and despair and debauchery follows the teens, townsfolk, wrestlers and all to the high school gymnasium where worlds collide and there can only be blood.
"Christ, these people. This goddamn Honeymoon clan of hard-luck farmers from down near Texoma. Personally, I’ve never had the pleasure, but please believe though not blood, these are my people. And these are Van Winkle’s people, so maybe he’s my people too. The drinking, drugs, and disfigurement, he’s gotten them all down to every last missing knuckle, club foot, and crippled arm from a baling accident. The best I can figure, Van Winkle’s got himself a tape-recorder for a memory, his imagination too, and he lets it run uninterrupted—this marble-mouthed chorus of sketchy characters competing for who’s got it worst. It’s the voice of my dead grandma and dead great aunties talking over each other as they gossip at church coffee every Sunday. The voice of my old man and his sweaty, stinking farming buddies talking their shit and telling their lies Friday nights out at the country bar, slouched over their Buds as they mumble, grunt, and spout off about what’s ruining the world this week. To be honest, it took me reading Van Winkle to realize I’ve been waiting my whole life for somebody to tell their ugly-tough stories of stoic self-destruction, bad tempers, and family curses. The death of the American farmer! That Van Winkle makes these people’s truth sound so brutally true and full of lies at the same time belies the real feat of While They Were in the Field: these are your people too—whether you want to claim them or not—they’re the warped, leafless rotting limbs of your family tree that your parents never told you about. It just took Van Winkle to pour the gas, grin, wink, and flick the match. Let you watch the flames as your family secrets lick closer and closer. "
-Benjamin Drevlow, editor in chief, BULL Men's Fiction
-William Bernhardt, New York Times Bestselling Author