Saturday, June 2, 2012

Their Drinking Betrayed Them

Here's another excerpt from the new book, Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home. Less than a month before launch. If you are a reviewer and would like a review copy, get in touch.

Albert showed up with a bottle of rum. They poured some of it into two cans of Coke. Will wandered back inside where the Furrer twins were holding court in their living room. In the quiet conversation, there was a mood of affection he'd never heard before among kids at the school. It astounded him, and he was at a loss as to how to respond. It was a sort of communal leave-taking.
On the drive home with Albert’s father, Will was silent, not wanting to betray his drinking with slurred words or inappropriate language. He got out at the top of the drive.
"Hey," said Albert’s father out the driver’s window.
"Goodnight." Will said, chewing furiously on a stick of gum.
"We’re going to the beach next weekend. You coming?"
"I can't. I'm going to Florida."
“Well, good luck next year. We’re counting on you for great things.”
Will walked down the drive, let himself in the unlocked front door. Father called his name. Downstairs, he lay on the living room sofa with the lights turned off. Will sat down in the armchair.
"How was the party?"
"You enjoy it?"
"Oh, yeah."
Will could tell that Father had been drinking, and thought it was somehow fitting that their mutual drunkenness made it possible for them to have a conversation in the dark. It was impossible, drunk or sober, for them to talk in the daylight.
"I don't know. It was nice to see people. It was a special moment. I don't know."
"Time flies, son."
"I know."
"But you don't worry. Not you. Do you?"
"Worry? About what?"
"Exactly. Even-keeled. That's what I like about you."
It was news to Will that he was admired by Father for any aspect of his personality, and he didn't see himself as even-keeled. He was really a wrack of contradictions and uncertain impulses, needy yet wary of being hurt, self-conscious and immersed always in self-pity, but knowing that there were certain moments such as this night that came like breaks in the cloud, as if God were offering glimpses of the possibility of hopefulness.

Anthony Caplan is a writer, blogger, teacher and homesteader in New Hampshire. He is the author of the novels Birdman, French Pond Road, and the forthcoming Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home, due out at the end of June from Hope Mountain Press. Find out more about him and his work at 
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