I am working on a novel set in contemporary New Mexico. It is titled Walking Rain.
If successful, the book could be called literature masquerading as popular fiction. Think of Graham Greene meeting Raymond Chandler and perhaps Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson as well.
As a writer in the film world for some decades, Graham Greene's distinction between his "novels"and his "entertainments" served to keep me going at various points in that career. Ultimately, though, the works Greene categorized as his "entertainments", such as The Third Man, Our Man in Havana, and The Quiet American struck me as more, in both substance and style, than what I might relegate to a cubbyhole called "entertainments" alone.
That led me to the conclusion that "entertainments" can -- and should -- have substance and style. After a while, though, this thought propelled me out of the film business, a business that had changed profoundly while I labored within it.
And so emerges Walking Rain, a work to be read rather than viewed on the silver screen, a book in progress, and a novel with a supporting character named New Mexico.
What follows is the first page, an introduction of one of the different narrators and voices of the tale, a white Cajun "from down in Saint John's Parrish, on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain"...
Nu Delta Barbecue Shacks
Copyright James Andrew McConnell
© by James Andrew McConnell
Yes yes yes. Spunky Edmonds here to ask the question: are you tired of greasy barbecue? Of course you are uh huh. Half hour after dinner you can hear your arteries harden? I know I know. At Nu Delta Barbecue Shacks we decrease the grease per piece. Never bust your chops at our shops. So bring Pops. You need no teeth to eat this beef. Yes yes yes.
Try the Bones-for-Homes, Ribs-to-Cribs Take-Out Service. Hotlinks gumbo prawns and pone! Abate the wait -- order by phone! Tuesdays and Thursdays tater pie, griddle biscuits in sausage gravy so good you will die! You can't deny we satisfy. Kids under three get ocarinas free. Yes yes yes.
Say, Little Mama. I know your man craves fish. Yes, he does. Ranch-raised, catfish fillets! You buy; we fry. Or ring his tender chimes with crawfish and bay shrimp rendered sublime. No puny mud puppies or shabby wimp shrimp barely worth the wait, only proud crustaceans, a parade on your plate. And men, hoist her from the cloister with a moister oyster, neat, sweet and petite, compiled and filed under "mild." Oh, yes!
And yes we have crabs. Oh we do and you will too.
Side orders? We got 'em. Saltbelly, spoonbread, hush puppies and greens. Swiss chard, American frys, back bayou rice and red roller beans. Or my favorite, grits and chicken drippings. Solo it's mojo, with liver you shiver, with gizzard it's wizard. Yes yes yes.
At Nu Delta Barbecue Shacks we always use exclusively free range potatoes and nothing but. Always have, always will. You always got my word, Spunky Edmonds’ word, on it. Always.
Don't forget, eight ounces of complimentary Secret Sauce to each customer. We're talking free Secret Sauce. It's tasty, not pasty; it nips the lips and numbs the gums as you mull it in your gullet. Or maybe you got to be the boss, so you order the Hot Secret Sauce. You'll rasp and you'll gasp as it sends a spasm through the chasm from tongue to lung. My mom calls it "napalm." Slake that doubt for your loving dear, take it out or eat it here. Oh my soul. Yes!
This month only, Nu Delta Barbecue Shacks repeats the World Famous Steak-O-Rama. Choice chucks so fine, ought to be called Charles Steaks. Order the Family Chuck Bucket, mention my name, and receive ten pounds of meaty neckbones...free! This is Spunky Edmonds. Glide by Nu Delta Barbecue Shacks uh huh oh yes. You need no teeth to eat this beef. Yes yes yes.