An Excerpt from Bastard Virtues

by
Daulton Dickey.

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Imagine sleeping.

Or trying to sleep.

Or lying in that state between sleeping and awake, a sort of light REM sleep.

Then imagine your phone rings.

Or someone pounds on the door.

You lie in bed for a moment, wondering who the hell’s bothering you.

Or maybe you know who it is.

Maybe you don’t want to answer the phone—or the door—and so you lie in bed.

Then, perhaps out of curiosity, you leap out of bed and grab the phone, or open the door.

Now imagine your cousin Rodney.

He wants your help.

Go into town with him and bail out his son, your second cousin.

Was it even possible to bail someone out at three in the morning?

Imagine thinking it over.

Or acquiescing and throwing on your clothes and shoes, grabbing your keys and wallet. Half asleep, maybe, you say you’ll go, but you don’t feel like driving.

You’re in the passenger seat now.

Racing down a county road.

No streetlights.

It’s dark.

You’re still trying to wake up, maybe. Rodney talks, spews the type of bullshit he’s known for spewing.

Maybe you listen, maybe you don’t.

Maybe you regret agreeing to this, maybe you’re happy to help.

But why’d you agree to do it?

At three o’clock in the fucking morning.

Rodney’s racing to town.

To bail out his son, his worthless son.

You’re going faster, faster.BVcoverfinal01

Faster.

Faster.

No streetlights.

Winding roads.

Ditches.

Fields and trees.

Then imagine the car jerking, maybe.

Try to imagine screeching tires.

What would it feel like to spin into a field and slam into a tree?

Picture fire erupting.

Picture it engulfing the motor, the engine.

You feel the fire beneath the car.

You see the fire inside the car.

The windows blacken.

Smoke fills the cabin.

Your seatbelt sticks.

The door won’t open.

You’re panicked now.

Screaming.

Or do you scream?

Are you even conscious?

Did the universe blink out on impact?

Do you suffer?

Hopefully you don’t suffer.

You probably don’t suffer as you burn.

Hopefully.

Why’d you agree to go?

Couldn’t you smell the alcohol on Rodney’s breath?

Why the fuck did you agree to go, Jacob?

Why didn’t you stay in bed?

Why?

Fuck Rodney.

Fuck Rodney and his worthless son.

Fuck everyone.

Fuck the universe and everything in it.

***

About the novel

Ram and Gummo have six hours to incite a riot, vandalize an art gallery, and torch a tree. They have six hours to avenge, and honor, their friend and cousin, who died when a drunk driver plowed their car into a tree. But things don’t always go as planned, and as their plans continually backfire, they encounter a woman, Bettie, who saves them from arrest—on one condition: they take her along.

Through chaos and violence, through comedy and tragedy, they despair in their attempt to honor their dead friend, to honor him in an unconventional way. When Bettie takes control of the group and convinces them to help her deal with an abusive ex-boyfriend, the situation grows complicated, culminating with the intervention of the police. But Ram and Gummo won’t go to jail without a fight. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to burn that tree.

About the Author

Daulton Dickey was born into a family of circus freaks. Without any noticeable defects or talent, he hitchhiked across the Atlantic Ocean and kicked the corpse of William S. Burroughs. He currently lives with his wife and sons in a city on a planet in the Milky Way twitterheader (2)Galaxy.

He has written for several websites, including PopMatters and Film Threat, and he was, briefly, an editor for the journal, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens.

“Like David Lynch, Daulton Dickey has found a language to articulate the obscenity of the unreal, itself the confluence of the perversion of capitalism and the seduction of technology and popular entertainment.” — Slavoj Žižek

Release Date: August 30, 2016
Paperback: $14.95
Ebook: $4.99

 

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