My name is Andrew Joyce and I’m here at the invitation of Ms. Anderson (my favorite Charlie). I’m also here to hip you to one of the best books I have ever read. The title is The Jacket (The Star Rover) Jack London wrote it in 1914. The jacket refers to a strait jacket.
Because I cannot explain the book (it is mind blowing), I’m sending you a crime story instead. I know it’s not what you are looking for . . . but maybe you can use it. It is very short.
Standing on the graveyard grass, looking down at the freshly filled grave, stood the Preacher dressed in black, wearing a black, circular wide-brim, flat-crowned hat. There was no headstone as of yet, but the Preacher knew the name of the grave’s occupant. It was his brother. Five days previously, the Preacher had murdered the man who now lay at his feet, under the earth. The Preacher did not want to kill this one, but felt he had to, and he knew with a certainty that he would have to kill again . . . and soon.
After saying a prayer for his brother’s soul, the Preacher walked slowly back to the highway. As he walked, he thought of how unnecessary the killing of his brother had been. All his brother had to do was not interfere in the Lord’s work. It should have made no difference that the work involved the killing of Junior McGuire.
As the Preacher walked, he thought back to his last conversation with his brother.
“You must not interfere.”
“You’ve been killing since you was a boy. But you was family, so I held my own peace.”
“I am family to man.”
“You always were different, even when we was kids. But now you come to town and tell me you must take Junior McGuire. Well, Junior is a friend of mine. He’s the mayor of this town for God’s sake.”
“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Are those your last words on the matter?”
“Yup, I just can’t let you kill Junior McGuire.”
The conversation replayed itself repeatedly in the Preacher’s mind.
Now that there were no more obstacles, The Preacher could be about the Lord’s work. And this time the Lord’s work was the quick dispatch of Junior McGuire.
The Preacher had been at this work for a long time. Sometimes he wearied of the mission the Lord had bestowed upon him. However, he believed that no matter how weary, he must persevere until he was allowed a rest or brought to his just reward.
The walk from the graveyard into town was a short one. Before he knew it, the Preacher found himself standing in front of McGuire’s Dry Goods Emporium. Without hesitation, The Preacher entered and sought out the McGuire.
The store was empty of people. It made no difference to The Preacher. He was about God’s work. He proceeded to the back room where he encountered a man of about fifty years of age stacking cartons in a corner. The Preacher inquired of the man, “Are you McGuire?” When an affirmative response was forthcoming, the Preacher laid his hands upon the sinner.
The Preacher had been at this for so long he felt as though he could see the soul of the damned leave its body and pass through the floorboards on its way to perdition.
As the Preacher left McGuire’s, he thought to himself, I pray the time never comes when I enjoy this work.
***** About the Author *****
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written three books, and a collection of almost one hundred stories that is comprised of his hitching adventures, written as veiled non-fiction called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS, and his latest novel, REDEMPTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog Danny.
***** About the Book *****
Title: REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer
Author: Andrew Joyce
Release Date: August 2013
Length: 195 pages
Genre: historical, classical
Three men come together in the town of Redemption, Colorado, each for his own purpose. Huck Finn is a famous lawman not afraid to use his gun to protect the weak. He has come to right a terrible wrong. After his wife’s death, Tom Sawyer does not want to live anymore; he has come to die. The third man, the Laramie Kid, a killer Huck and Tom befriended years earlier, has come to kill a man. For these three men Death is a constant companion. For these three men it is their last chance for redemption.
You can read my review of REDEMPTION here.