Free Novella – BAT IN A WHIRLWIND

At last I seem to have gotten it together to start serializing BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, A Backwoods Novella.  I’m planning to release a chapter every few weeks, and since there are fifteen, the whole thing may be complete by the end of this summer.  Good reason to keep checking back for the next instalment of a free read.   Between now and then, I’ll try to figure out how to turn it into a formal eBook for free download.  Any advice on this is welcome.

FYI:  My little book is probably of most interest to the gay and/or literary reader, but the themes are appropriate for wide general interest:  life in the rural South in the Rock’n’roll Fifties, sexuality of adolescent boys, parental abuse, religion, race, and nature.  For the squeamish, I should advise that it involves a good deal of fantasy (innocent) and dreams (Freudian).

The novella is not so much a coming-of-age or coming-out story as the intimate personal account of a confused country boy who discovers love and himself.  Covering the senior year of two best buddies in high school at the end of the 1950’s, this all happens in backwoods Arkansas, mostly at a remote truck stop café called Piney Hill, where young Ben is virtually a prisoner.  The boy is swept up in an emotional whirlwind, besotted by a quixotic passion for the TV star Annette Funicello and at the same time bewildered by confusing feelings for his buddy Danny.

To download BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 1.  MAKING OUT as a free pdf file, right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.”

Here’s a brief sample from Chapter 1.  MAKING OUT

….by the time we got back to Piney Hill [from deer-hunting], the sun was lowering.  I got nervous about the time.  Earlier this week I’d figured out that my darling Annette would be the special guest on American Bandstand today.  She’d just been voted Most Promising Female Vocalist for 1959.  When I popped into the café, the clock fortunately showed plenty of time to grab a cold RC Cola, run across the road to the house, and switch on the TV.

Bandstand was my other favorite TV show, a great party every day after the long boring school bus ride from Ashdown.  All those cool kids and neat Dick Clark were like another special family for me.  Kenny and Arlene were my favorites.  Arlene looked so much like my Annette, almost as pretty, and Kenny had dark curls too, and brown eyes.  He actually answered one of my fan letters once, something my darling Annette never did.

Once I got a postcard from Walt Disney with her pretty picture in response to the long Valentine poem I wrote (and illustrated).  How lucky those Bandstand kids were to be near fabulous people like Annette, like when she was on the show singing “Tall Paul.”  Her lovely black hair was longer now that she wasn’t a Mouseketeer anymore.

Today Dick played some good rock and roll, and I danced around the living room still in my red hunting cap.  Then sure enough the guest was Annette.  She came bouncing out from behind the curtain, so pretty in her white sweater and skirt.  She swayed with the music of her new record, her beautiful smile beaming at the camera, and her raven hair even longer.  I wasn’t sure I really liked it as much that way.  It made her look so much more grown up and fancy.

Her delicate hand was hiding something at her throat.  Of course, I knew the song was going to be “First Name Initial,” and I ached to see what she was wearing on the chain.  At the end of the first verse, she suddenly let go of it.  A B!  I stared, entranced, as she sang,

I wear it at the soda shop, / I wear it at the record hop, / Ridin’ to a movie in your Jeep, / I wear it when I go to gym, / I wear it when I take a swim, / I even wear it when I sleep!

Fixated on Annette’s beauty, after the song I listened in anguish as she talked with Dick about Frankie Avalon and Fabian.  When she mentioned Frankie, she grinned, and I could tell she was blushing.  She called Paul Anka a tease and a practical joker.  I couldn’t feel jealous about those guys because I really liked them too, like comrades in love for her.  I really thought Frankie was super, and Fabian was so handsome, with a hairy chest just like mine.  In the close-ups of my darling I nearly drooled admiring her dark eyes and hair.

She spent a while at the autograph stand signing all the kids’ books, her hand making the round shapes of that signature I knew so well from the magazines.  Kenny slow-danced with her, and it made me feel so close, almost as though I could feel my famous darling in my arms.  When Annette waved goodbye and went back behind the curtain, I fell down on the floor, overcome with romantic emotion.  Those few moments of seeing her on the TV had been like the visit of an angel.  My love for Annette was pure, almost religious adoration, untainted by anything physical, a truly grand passion.

###

To download BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 1.  MAKING OUT as a free pdf file, right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.”

 

 

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