It’s Monday morning. The cold gray sunlight razors through the venetian blinds and the commuters’ autos stalk past the window with angry growls. In hell, it’s always Monday morning. I'm sure some great theologian already proclaimed this; I’ll look up the reference, later. Right now, I march into hell to defend my sins, armed with only a tepid cup of coffee and a cheroot.
I wanted to write a story that hadn’t been done a thousand times before. The kind of story that barrels out of your blind spot on the highway, gives you a nasty sideswipe and leaves your hands white and shaking for the rest of the trip to cubicle world.
What if Raymond Chandler, Rod Serling and Albert Camus conspired to rewrite Malice in Wonderland over a bottle of absinthe in a smoky bar and grill? My book, Remanded to the Night Café: An Existentialist Fable, is my best estimation of the end result.
My protagonist, Professor John Clarke, starts his journey in a seedy bar in an even seedier part of town. At first, he appears to be a just another piece of human wreckage; broke, drunk and jobless. As the narrative unfolds, we learn that John was like the rest of us, not so long ago. He had a steady job, a wife and a place in the world. By working hard and playing by the rules, he believed got you security. Isn’t that what we all shoot for?
Unfortunately, life tenders no promises; he lost it all.
Now, living in a shabby hotel on the government’s dime, John suffers from hysterical blindness. Stumbling from one misadventure from another, he is urged on by a seductive, enigmatic voice in his head. At midnight of the winter solstice, the voice gives him a simple offer, survive one year and a day and he'll regain his sight.
With this desperate hope hung on an insane premise, he takes up her challenge. Unsure of his own perceptions, John navigates this dark urban landscape built from funhouse mirrors, populated by;
· A lonely, betrayed grad student who rejects that final cab drive we all take and finds love with an arms-dealing creature of darkness
· A con-artist who is looking to make a legendary score and ends up auditioning to be the next great trickster god
· The last good cop in a city gone bad who learns the difference between law and justice
· A fashion-conscious fox spirit who wrestles with her own base instincts lest she loses her franchise on humanity
Between sinister government agents, tutelary bikers and a chess game between voodoo loas, Prof threads his way through these events and prepares to face his own demons and reclaim his destiny.