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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Leaving Jackson Wolf . . .

Friends, neighbors, READERS— available November 2, 2018 at Amazon and other online retailers the new novel from P.A. Kane, Leaving Jackson Wolf.

Leaving Jackson Wolf is a gritty coming of age story of two fringe boys—biracial Jackson and undersized McDougal—trying to find their power in a complicated unforgiving world.
Read the opening . . .
Chapter 1
         McDougal had some pituitary dysfunction bullshit that made him a little runt. He wasn’t the kind of runt who would cower and not fight when the bigger guys kicked him around—he just had that pituitary shit that made him little and weak. One spring day in the ninth grade as I made my way through the transition hallway, which connected the old and new buildings of South Park High School, this redheaded gorilla eleventh grader, Talty McManus, literally kicked McDougal into me. Tangled in my legs, the little shit took me down like a teetering 4 a.m. drunk, dislodging my books all over the floor. Now, I didn’t really give a shit about that little runt fuck McDougal—people could kick him all they wanted as far as I was concerned—but as I lay there all twisted up with him, I got really mad at the sound of that moron gorilla McManus and his friends laughing.

     Once untangled, I scooped up my heavy Literature Today book, jumped to my feet, and with both hands cracked McManus right upside his giant moron head. The impact caused him to stumble back into the hallway wall. His two friends were on me in a flash, and after I landed a solid right to the jaw of one of them, they locked my arms up behind my back. When he regained his equilibrium, McManus proceeded to bash the shit out of me until the shop teacher, Mr. Pierson, came and broke it up. I was still really mad and wasn’t thinking about any consequences when McManus’s friends let me go and I threw a punch that grazed his jaw and eventually landed on the chin of a very angry Mr. Pierson. I already had a zero-tolerance five-day suspension, and nailing Mr. Pierson would maybe get me more.
     But what did I care? Five days off . . . Maybe I’d punch ten more of these morons and slide right into summer vacation.
  Despite me landing that errant punch on the shop teacher, for which I apologized, Mr. Mattimore, the school principal, decided not to involve the police or any further discipline beyond the five-day suspension. Instead, the four of us—the flame-headed gorilla McManus, his two friends, and I—were sent to the detention room and McDougal, the bullied runt, was sent along to class. Mr. Franklin, the imposing security guard, babysat us as we theoretically waited for our parents to pick us up. Over the next hour or so McManus’s friends were escorted out, leaving just the two of us there separated by Mr. Franklin. I settled in with a Nick Hornby book I was reading, knowing my dad, if they could even find him, would tell school officials to take a hike. I was their problem from 7:41 a.m. to 2:41 p.m.
     Sitting there, McManus every so often would draw my attention away from the Hornby book and mouth the words I’m going to kill you! to which I responded with a sarcastic smirk and then some kisses blown in his direction from my hand. Constrained by the presence of Mr. Franklin, he was like a big dumb Irish Setter tied to a parked car, and taunting him was almost better than cracking that stupid douche upside his moron head. When he was finally called to leave, he shouted, “You’re dead, Jackson!”
  Yeah, whatever.
     I left school later with a sense of liberation, five days’ worth, and decided to walk home rather than catch the bus. I almost missed McDougal leaning up against the streetlight in front of Rite Aid in his little puke-green jacket, calling out to me in his tiny voice, “Jackson . . . Jackson.”
     But I just kept walking—fuck that little asshole. He didn’t get the message, though, and in a voice that was probably yelling for him, said, “Thanks for helping me today.”
     Normally, I would’ve just let this pass, but there were other kids around who may have heard him, and I didn’t want anybody getting the impression that I was some kind of mark for the dispossessed and runty. So I turned around, took five steps in the direction of McDougal, and said, “Listen, you little fuck, I couldn’t give a shit about who kicks you around. Just don’t get kicked into me. Got it?” Then, to make sure he got it, I slapped him upside the head, and the little shit crumpled to the ground like a house of cards imploding on itself.
     Wincing in pain, he inched himself into a sitting position and looked up at me with his pathetic, tiny pain-filled eyes and I don’t know—the better nature of myself came to the surface.
     “McDougal, goddammit, get up. Stop being such a little shit.” I picked his meager little ass from the ground and started to brush him off and straighten him up.
     “Get off of me,” he said, trying to push me away.
     I stepped back and looked at him and was filled with . . . I don’t know what I was filled with, but I wanted to say something, and when nothing came to me, I turned to leave.
     I hadn’t taken two steps when McDougal’s tiny voice called out to me. “Hey, Jackson, you want to steal some beer from Rite Aid with me?”