A while back, we here at MojoFiction promised some good old-fashioned shameless self-promotion. We don’t want to disappoint.
Now that our debut novel is finally available everywhere it’s going to get for the moment, we thought we’d take some time to offer up two brief excerpts. You may recall that the story is about a boy named Gerald Arthur McGuinness and his unusual life experiences as he grows up in Isley, Colorado.
Here’s the setup: Gerald, having recently experienced the joy of being born, is now being baptized. Unfortunately, the pastor is also baptizing another baby at the same time – Allison Finch – because her parents demanded it (and the reasons are better left to the book).
Everything moves along normally until the actual christening. Pastor Jenkins leans over, sprinkles holy water on Gerald’s head, and says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Seemingly out of nowhere, Gerald smiles and lets out a long “Aaaaaaah…” The congregation, caught off guard, collectively sighs, “Awwwww,” because surely it’s a sign that Gerald has been welcomed into the covenant lock, stock, and barrel. Gerald thinks the synchronized sigh from the mass of people in front of him sounds brilliant. He claps his hands together and laughs in appreciation.
Pastor Jenkins can’t remember the last time a baby responded so well. He looks up in surprise and mumbles, “Well, looks like I have the touch today.” He almost takes a bow, but catches himself. It’s not his house after all…
Then it’s time for Allison Finch.
The Finch’s step forward, holding out little Allison and beaming with pride. When Pastor Jenkins sprinkles water on Allison’s head and says the words, he pauses for a moment, just to see what happens. After all, if he’s got it going on, why not spread it around? Everyone waits, but little Allison doesn’t do anything. When Mark tries to discreetly stroke her chin to get her to make some noise, she starts to cry. The congregation gets restless. Mark Finch clears his throat and sends a nasty look at Pastor Jenkins, like it’s his fault. Instantly annoyed, because the baptism itself should be the point, Pastor Jenkins just shrugs and holds a baby in each arm, presenting them to the congregation.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he says. “I give you our newest members.”
At that exact moment, the sun breaks through the clouds and an almost blinding ray of light shines through the window above the altar, falling directly on Gerald Arthur McGuinness. The congregation collectively inhales, stunned into silence. Gerald literally glows in the sunlight.
“Oh, my God!” says Lillian, appropriately. Allan gives his trademark wide-eyed stare.
Pastor Jenkins starts wondering just what the hell is going on when a small child in the pews interrupts.
“Mommy, does Jesus like that baby better?”
“Hush, Nelson, not so loud. …Yes, yes he does.”
“Don’t tell him that, Liz.”
“It’s obviously true, Larry, look.”
“Of course it’s true, but we don’t want to tell our son that God plays favorites.”
“Look Nelson, we’re just saying that baby is special and the other one isn’t…”
“Am I special, mommy?”
“In a way…”
Setup: Gerald and his friends have found a creative way to protest an archaic policy change to sex education initiated by the evil-ish Cindy Crabtree. Now, the townspeople try to figure out how to deal with the aftermath…
Bert Handy, even in his advancing age he has never given up on his dream to be mayor, speaks at the senior center, which is what the town calls the Eggcelent Pancake house over on Pine Street. If you ever eat there before ten on any given morning you’ll see why. Bert reminds them, as he does over any negative town publicity, that it wouldn’t have happened if they had elected him mayor because the sex education policy would never have passed. Most of the seniors already agree with him, except for Pete Lonnegan, who doesn’t agree with anyone who won’t buy him a Tooty-Fruity Pancake Breakfast with hash browns. You want his vote, you have to buy it. Still, Bert’s sudden (but not politically motivated, honest) passion on the subject gets the seniors going that morning. They look ready to march on city hall, or harass the school board, or whatever it takes to do justice by the town’s young people. All this motivation really drains their energy after about thirty minutes, so they decide to hang around for another coffee and maybe they’ll get to whatever it is they’re talking about some other time. Later, during the last mayoral election Bert will bother to take part in, the seniors will only remember him as the guy who made them really tired.
Calls roll into the mayor’s office at an alarming rate. Unsure yet how to handle the incident, the Mayor gives his secretary two directives: First, he’s not in; second, find out which camp the caller is in before responding. For the Crabtree camp, let them know that the Mayor is shocked at the outlandish behavior of the town’s misguided youth. This incident only serves as notice that Mrs. Crabtree was right all along. For the anti-Crabtree camp, let them know that the Mayor always worried it might come to this and he’s ready to take action. If they ask what action, tell them it’s need-to-know so the bad guys don’t get wind of the plan…
There you have it. If you made it this far we are really impressed. We’d like to tell the people that didn’t make it this far that we are decidedly not impressed, but, of course, they won’t know because, well, they didn’t make it this far.