The Great Barrington Train Wreck

| February 26, 2016

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THE GREAT BARRINGTON TRAIN WRECK

NOTE: The Great Barrington Train Wreck can also be purchased with three other novels of mine for $3.99 in a book entitled Four Novels.(The three other novels are Frontier Justice, The Blackwater Journal, and The Road Map to the Universe.)

Living on the street isn’t easy, but Mike Stratton knows his way around…at least until the day that he almost dies from hypothermia. Scrambling around, he finds a job as a cab driver, rents an apartment, and falls in love with his most beautiful fare, the enigmatic Alexandra Hughes. Alexandra, who is only twenty, has a boyfriend, but Mike is obsessed with her, and before long, it appears that she needs him—especially on the night when she tells him, through a flood of tears, that her father has murdered her boyfriend and is coming after her.

But all is not quite what it seems in this tale of a down-and-out guy who is never able to see through the smokescreen of his lust…or see through the erotic night he spends in bed with Alexandra…or see through Alexandra’s mysterious disappearance…or see through his unexpected arrest for murder.

The following is an excerpt from Part One:

Just to introduce myself, I’m about as poor as poor can get. Not third-world malnutrition poor, but dirtbag American poor–tattered, friendless, homeless. Twenty years ago, when I was fifteen, I dropped out of high school, and a year later, I was booted out of my parent’s house. Since then, I’ve been living on the streets and have hardly even slept in an apartment, much less rented one. During the long, cold northern winters, I’ve gone from one homeless shelter to another or from one abandoned house to another. In the summers, I usually crash in the city park, or on rainy nights, I’ll walk the five miles to the state forest where I’ve dug a hole in the ground that’s covered with logs, tarpaulin, and brush. Meanwhile, through it all, drugs and alcohol have been my staples–morning, noon, and night.

Even though I have no formal education to speak of, I’ve spent thousands of hours in the public library reading about things that interest me, regardless of their relevance or practicality. Because of this, you might be pleasantly surprised by my vocabulary and ability to write a coherent sentence–I guarantee you that this isn’t going to be one of those crude, half-baked books that is littered with four-letter words and all sorts of peculiar vulgarities that some writers, many of them quite famous, find so attractive.

I suppose, to be authentic, I should begin with what happened at the cabin. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with the main part of my adventures—in fact, it’s just a pathetic sideshow to the catastrophe that befell me after I became involved with Alexandra Hughes. Even so, the story of my downfall wouldn’t be complete unless I included my death-defying march down the Landon Falls Road. I have been through more than my share of desperate times, including a stint on death row, but I think the thing that scarred me the most, even more than having a gun pointed at my head, was that eight-mile walk down a deserted road in a torrential November rainstorm.

When I look back on it, I can see that my two days at the cabin were an omen of what was to come. Although there would be a twist to some of the details, the ultimate result of my liaison with Alexandra would be another kind of death march, even if the road was paved in gold and adorned with beauty. Nowadays, with the wisdom gained from my many mistakes, I can see that the Landon Falls Road is nothing more than a symbol of my failed life. It is a road that stretches on forever—all the way to infinity, if infinity is defined as the length of my life. And I am walking down it, with neither man nor God nor nature for company—walking down a desolate, abandoned road until I fall or am pushed into my grave.

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