Junk City
Jon Boilard
Coming November 2020!
Synopsis:

Set in San Francisco, the stories and poems in JUNK CITY are linked by characters and the characters are linked by addiction in one form or another. Youíll meet a hard-drinking mail carrier struggling to find deeper meaning when he comes across a suicide on his route; a seasoned city cop trying to make it to retirement before he ends up viral on YouTube; a teenage runaway selling his body for dope; an aging stripper named Eskimo convinced she can turn over a new leaf by getting her poetry chapbook published (and whose super-heated poems link the stories); a cross-dressing accountant running a Ponzi scheme on his clients; and a legend of the local street fighting scene whose life is spiraling out of control in a swirl of brown booze and pain pills. The characters that roam these pages live in a shadowy world, but from time to time slivers of light manage to break through the fog.

 

 



ISBN 978-1-60489-261-1 $19.95   Sale $10.50

ISBN 978-1-60489-262-8, 27.95    Sale $15.50

Binding
 
About the Author:

Jon Boilard was born and raised in small towns in Western Massachusetts. Today he lives and writes in Northern California. His debut short story collection, SETTRIGHT ROAD (Dzanc Books/2017), was preceded by two novels, THE CASTAWAY LOUNGE (Dzanc Books/2015) and A RIVER CLOSELY WATCHED (MacAdam Cage/2013), which was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award the following year. Jonís award-winning short stories have appeared in some of the finest literary journals in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. He has participated in the Cork International Short Story Festival in Cork, Ireland, the Wroclaw Short Story Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, and LitQuake in San Francisco, California.

  Excerpt from Book:

FINDING ALBERT REDWINE

 

I smoked crack before they called it that. This was San Francisco in the 1980s. I had a good job delivering the mail and a house that I shared with my Marine buddy Danny. We hated the Lakers more than anything and were throwing a party to celebrate another Celtics victory. Larry Bird got a triple double and he was like a god. It was mostly guys from the post office and the West Sunset basketball courts where we played pickup. There were always some pretty ladies around. I got so fucked up I couldnít even stand.

            People were starting to leave because it was late, and it was Wednesday. Dannyís kid sister tried to pull me off the couch. Her name was Beth and sometimes I called her Betty Boop after that cartoon. She had a thing for me and so I was nailing her behind Dannyís back. It started by accident and then I couldnít stop. If he found out, then we would have to fight. He was Golden Gloves, but I donít know who wouldíve won because Iíd been in my share of scraps, too. In the Corp nobody messed with either of us.

It was wrong of me yet most of what I did was wrong. She was old enough so that it was legal but still. Danny was face down in the kitchen where he puked. Beth sneaked us into my bedroom. I begged her to leave me alone but once she took off her clothes it was all over. She had bleach-blond hair cropped short. I broke up with her last Christmas and she tried to overdose. That night in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital so they could pump her stomach she told me next time sheíd do it right. I held her hand but only because I didnít know what to say. She told me I could never leave her. After that incident the sex was always violent and exhausting and beautiful. I usually felt bad about it. She was petite and sometimes I called her the featherweight champ.

***

I was walking my route. There was that fog-haze hiding the sun a bit. I wasnít supposed to find him. His name was Albert Redwine. His garage door was open, and I needed a signature, so I went inside. He didnít own a dog, that much I knew. I said his name two or three times. Then he was swinging there in a little breeze. Heíd used an orange extension cord looped over a ceiling beam and his face was puffy and blue, his neck swollen around the cord. I didnít know what to make of it because I had never seen a dead person before. Not outside a funeral home. Even in the Corp we got gypped out of any action. Too young for Vietnam and too old for Bosnia. I sat on an overturned bucket, probably the one he had used to get himself into position. Jesus Christ. It really got to me.

            He didnít leave any note in an obvious place. His mail was mostly bills and the package that required his signature was from Juneau, Alaska. It smelled like heíd shit his pants and Iíd heard about how that would happen when your body shuts down. Other than that, he was tidy, and his jeans were creased in the middle. There were goose bumps on my forearms. I didnít know what could make a person go through all the trouble. He must have had a plan. His eyes were open and looking at me as though in judgment.

***

The Lakers beat the Celtics in game four and Danny smashed the television in the street. Alejandro was wearing a Magic Johnson t-shirt and so Danny busted his lip. Somebody pulled a gun until the cops showed up and stuck Danny in the paddy wagon. Beth cleaned up the house a little. I pretended to be asleep, but she was smarter than that. I told her about finding Albert Redwine and she wondered what it felt like, so I put my hands around her neck, and I squeezed her windpipe although not too much. Beth was scared but got on top of me so I could see her emptying eyes by the trembling light of a candle.