Even More Information

Blowing Carbon

Jack's critically-acclaimed first book, Blowing Carbon, is now available at bookstores worldwide and on amazon.com

 

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         The books make terrific, thoughtful gifts. Order several now.  

Watch here for more information about Jack's book, including personal appearances.  In the meantime, here are some excerpts from short stories included in Blowing Carbon.

 

 

 “Blowing Carbon”

      Patricia remembered nights when she feared going into the kitchen, where the two sat at the round laminate table sipping martinis in silence, looking everywhere but at each other.  Cigarette smoke hung in the kitchen air like foul fog, accompanying the palpable animus; their next gin-fueled eruption just a matter of time.  She had existed on the fringes of their civil war, the causes unknown, but which she had placed upon herself.  She knew that somehow it was her doing, that she was a bad girl.

 

“The Cicadas”

Once the screen door banged shut, I listened to the cicada’s loud, meaningless hum.  I think sometimes the stuff that rattles around in my head, the stuff I worry so much over, is like meaningless cicada hum.  And it strikes me that grandpa is sort of the opposite of the cicadas because what he says is worth listening to.

 

“Boats Against the Current”

The sun glimmers on the surface above them, its rays splaying water-refracted needles of light on and around them.  Todd’s head slowly turns an anatomically impossible 180 degrees to face her.  He wears a dead expression of accusation.  Priscilla unleashes an involuntary scream.  Her lungs fill with tepid water.

 

“Only A Christmas Story”

     “So what about you, Nick?  Are you on your way home?”     

     “Nope, not yet.  I have some friends to visit first, but I’ll be headed home directly.”  He smirked, and with his look, invited interplay.

      I obliged.  “Home to the north pole?”

     “Ha,” he chuckled and pointed at me.  “I knew that was coming.  You won’t let it go.  Lumps of coal in your stocking next year, young man.”  He let out a staged and artificial “Ho, Ho, Ho,” but it sounded perfect, as if he had practiced it for hundreds of years.

 

“River Rock” 

Supper concluded, we sit on the cabin’s deck that overlooks the Taylor.  A flurry of tiny winged insects swirls around a flowering shrub below us that looks like a currant, but I am no botanist either.  We have neither these insects nor the shrub in my Kansas home eight thousand feet closer to sea level.  So fixed are the winged workers on their last daylight gathering that they pay us no heed, unlike their relatives in the Kansas dusk who bite us or bash themselves against our porch lights.  Life hangs on a thin wire here – summers short and winters harsh.  Insects, animals, and even people to a lesser degree, stick to the business of survival.

 

 

“Jimmy and the Bulldog” 

This new era of husbands-as-partners took on added meaning when two nurses dragged me, not quite kicking and screaming into a room to scrub for surgery.  They instructed me to sit beside Nancy, observe the surgery and offer such husbandly support as I was able.  In the operating room, an anesthesiologist who spouted non-stop humor with a delivery suspiciously like Groucho Marx (the mask covered his moustache) deadened Nancy‘s lower half with something called an epidural – a combination of two Latin words: epi, for “freak the husband” and dural for “out of his skin.” 

From her chest up my wife remained Nancy; below that she was epiduraled into a rag doll.  My role required that I attend the part of her that was still Nancy, offering sweet husbandly words of encouragement.  While I held her hand, uttering inanities to the top half, the surgical team got busy gutting the rag doll half like a fisherman guts a crappie.

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 On Friday, June 18, 2010, Jack will read from Blowing Carbon at  the Writer's Place, 3607 Pennsylvania in Kansas City at 7:00 pm.

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On Sunday, September 11, 2011, Jack will be among the Kansas City Voices authors reading at the World's Largest Hallmark Cards store in Shawnee, Kansas.  Check here for details as they become available.

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