THE ROAD TO FORT WORTH
And other works by Michael Jackson Smith

 

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Free - Chapter 8: Danville


THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

CLASSIFIED AD
For Sale: 1977 Plymouth Station Wagon - $300
Call: 555-5555

FIRST CALLER
Does it have any rust?

SECOND CALLER
I am on a fixed income.

JACK (V.O.)
Maybe, I need to offer some kind of creative financing.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Ello. M calling bout the care. Is she drivable?

JACK
Yes, but it needs brake repairs.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Okay, then where ye located?

JACK
Kerry Lane.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Spell it.

JACK
(spells)
K-E-R-R-Y

ENGLISH FELLOW
Eh? Terry Lane?

JACK
No, Kerry Lane. K, like in...
What begins with K in London?
K, like in, like in, ah, Khrushchev.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Oh, Perry Lane.

JACK
No, Kerry Lane.
(spells)
K-E-R-R-Y.
Kerry, like in Khrushchev.
K, like in kat. No that isn't right.
K, like in kane.
No, that isn't right, either.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Yeah, K, like in kat. Kat, kane, Kerry Lane.
Kerry Lane, eh?
I'll find it.

JACK
No, you won't find it. It's a short street, off another road.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Okay, then, ow do I get there?

JACK
Where are you coming from?

ENGLISH FELLOW
Bahia Vista, eh?

JACK
Take Bahia Vista east to McIntosh Road, turn right.
Go to Webber and turn left.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Wesser Street, eh?

JACK
No, no, no. Webber Street. Webber, R like in Roy.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Wetter Street? Where is Wetter Street?
I never erd of Wetter Street.

JACK
Do you know where Bee Ridge Road is?

ENGLISH FELLOW
Yeah, Bee Ridge?

JACK
What is the first street north of Bee Ridge?

ENGLISH FELLOW
Oh, Webber Street?

JACK
Yes, Webber Street.
Go east on Webber four streets to Stratford.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Old on, me mate will take it from ere.

MATE
Where e go from Webber?

JACK
Four streets to Stratford. Turn left.

MATE
Strasfor?

JACK
Oh no. Bullshit. Stratford.

MATE
Me mate is coming back on.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Where e go from Webber?

JACK
Four streets east on Webber to Stratford. Turn left.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Where?

JACK
Stratford. Are you from England?
You do know who Shakespeare is, don't you?
The Bard of Avon. Stratford on Avon.
Stratford Street, got it?

ENGLISH FELLOW
Yeah, but how do you spell it?

JACK
Spell it. Why the hell do I have to spell Stratford,
if you know who Shakespeare is?

ENGLISH FELLOW
I can't spell.

JACK
Why do you keep asking me to spell it then?

ENGLISH FELLOW
Me mate can spell.

JACK
Just remember Shakespeare, then Stratford and go
three-quarters of a mile to Kerry Lane.
We're on the corner.

ENGLISH FELLOW
Okay. Thanks.

JACK
When will you be here?

ENGLISH FELLOW
Maybe six or seven. Got a cell phone
and will call if we're lost. Bye.

Jack waits for three hours.
The English fellow and his mate never show up!

Copyright ©2012 Michael Jackson Smith


Overview of The Road To Fort Worth

Jack Wendell's rite of passage into adulthood began three hours before midnight on the eve of his twenty-first birthday. On his stroll across campus, he watched one foot follow the other in a rhythmic pattern and thought about time. As he stepped from the past into the future, he was stunned by the realization that the present moment was so fleeting that it couldn't exist. His breathing became shallow and feelings of horror flushed through his body in spasms, like waves crashing on the shoreline, retreating, then returning in another blow. He was convinced that he had entered a portal into hell, and he endured the agony of the next three hours. When the clock struck midnight, he entered a bar, ordered a glass of whiskey, and the elixir washed away his panic with three magic bends of his elbow.

This was only the beginning of Wendell's long love affair with booze, his only relief from the anxiety attacks that haunted him in an era when little was known about the disorder. He couldn't function with the anxiety that possessed him and drank in an attempt to control his horrifying feelings, but couldn't work in a perpetual state of intoxication. On his journey, he encountered a host of unlikely companions and circumstances, including rehabs, institutions, therapists and a horde of dysfunctional people who would harbor him for a time, yet, sooner or later, he was forced onto the street again in search of another haven, where he could drink to his heart's content.

The Road To Fort Worth is a long overdue novel about a man suffering from panic disorder and alcoholism. It could be seen as a continuation of Charles R. Jackson's classic novel, The Lost Weekend. It's the story of a life on the rocks with a twist of lemon. It's the story of how one man learned to untie the inextricable knot binding two debilitating disorders that so many people have been unable to unravel. -Michael Jackson Smith

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."


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