Adventures With My Father: The Final “Sneak Preview”

A lot of people have been wondering  how the book will be made available once it’s ready for purchase. Good question! In a sense, I’m trying to figure that out right now!

Unless an honest-to-gawd book store decides to take a chance on a new author and give up shelf space (unless any of you know a book-seller or happen to be related to Barnes and/or Noble, I’m doubting that seriously) Adventures With My Father will be available primarily through online bookstores. Once I get a clear picture of how that’s going to shake out, I will most certainly let you know.

I do know for a fact that there will be a place here on SkipShow.com as well as a book-specific website where you can order a physical copy or even download the manuscript (I will also have a Kindle version available). Amazon.com BarnesandNoble.com and Borders.com should also have the book available…we’ll see!

For the last sneak preview, I chose a passage from the Chapter “If You’re Goin’ to San Fransisco” for two reasons;  I’ve had several friends suggest it specifically and a majority of the Adventures With My Father took place while he was living in the Bay Area.

For those of you who have been paying attention, you’ve noticed that a majority of the Adventures With My Father take place without my father…good for you! (That’s kind of the gist of the whole story!)

Here’s the set-up: Summer, 1967. My brother and I have just been sentenced to spend the summer with my father and his other family in San Fransisco. What follows occurred almost literally the day after we rolled into town. Careful: there is some salty language!

(Incidentally, the cover picture was taken the same day this happened)

Within the first few days of our incarceration, we were informed by one of the other inmates that there was quite the playground nearby complete with a small petting zoo. Only problem was both were located seventy-five feet above us on top of the bluff immediately behind the apartments. Since there was absolutely no adult supervision (shocking, I know) we decided to have a bash and check it out. This proved to be quite the undertaking given we had only two options; we could either walk out the back door, go to the end of the dead end road and take a shot at climbing up the steep slope or we could walk to the bottom of the hill, cross several major intersections (one uncontrolled) and hike for what was approximately two miles up a winding hillside road. Naturally, my brother decided we should climb.

Great.

Let me share a basic foundation of “Fat Kid 101”. There are things that little fat kids can’t do very well. Gymnastics comes to mind right away. Unicycles? No. Keeping a shirt-tail tucked in? Forget it. Climbing straight up half a football field without the aid of a block and tackle or at least a rope ladder? Uh, no. The prospect was daunting at best but when I considered the alternative (hanging with Purple Lips at Stalag 13), I became a willing participant. So up we went.

The first few feet really weren’t that bad. The incline wasn’t steep and there was plenty of brush to hang on to. About thirty feet up, it got a little rough. The topography gave way to nothing but scattered ice plant and run-off culverts cut into the dirt. I knew I was in for a rough run so I did what any fat kid would have done. I sat down and commenced to bitching.

After some shaming and cajoling by my brother I gave up my spot (dubbed “Base Camp Alpha”) and with the agility of a boulder, continued my ascent up the summit. I took great caution, planting my feet in the prints of my trusty Sherpa Chucky. I was very surprised by my progress, that was until my ass-hole of a brother said the one thing he should never have said;

“Don’t look down.”

That’s all it took. In a mater of seconds, I tumbled through Base Camp Alpha and came to an abrupt stop with my head wedged between a bush and a Dead End guardrail.

Nice.

It must have looked like a pretty bad tumble. Before I could figure out what in the hell had just happened, Sonny was on top of me making sure I was okay and laughing his ass off. The bastard.

Surprisingly, my tumble served only to shore up my resolve. I checked for any protruding bones and headed back to base camp. After a quick break to catch my breath and admire what was really a beautiful view, it was back to work. Sonny offered to let me go up first but we quickly determined that that would only serve to provide me a cushion for the next time I fell. We chose to tie one end of his belt to his belt loop and the other to my wrist. Rather brilliant we thought.

While it felt to us like the better part of our day was just getting up that freaking hill, in reality it was probably less than half an hour. As we got closer to the top, I was hit with this strange sensation. Something just didn’t seem right.

“What is that smell?” Suddenly, I wasn’t concerned with the climb or even falling again. I was more concerned about my brother’s digestive tract and just what in the name of all things holy would create such a noxious gas.

It was a rather (“rather” one of my favorite words) anti-climactic moment when Sonny finally reached the top of the cliff. He stood, dusted himself off, took time to survey the area and as outlined in the “Shitty Things to Do to Your Little Brother” handbook, he was required to lean over the ledge of the cliff and spit at me as I was nearing the top. Such a card, that Sonny.

I managed to dodge the barrage of saliva and pulled myself up the last yard or so to where he stood (having long since given up on the belt thing). When I pulled myself to my feet, what I saw certainly explained the foul stench I was smelling. What was billed as a “cool little petting zoo” was more like the San Francisco Satellite Campus of The Island of Dr. Moreau.

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