A talented, young woman in Green Bay neglected by a boyfriend’s indecision. Another girlfriend intentionally abandoned for an affair with a fickle, though physically arresting, troublemaker at a Motel 6 in Tucson, Arizona. The desire to leave behind family and hometown following the influence of an impressionable Vietnam Vet uncle. And a quest for spiritual fulfillment after the death of a younger brother on the southwestern border of the United States.
These are the clumsy, wayward experiences of Billy Maddox and Carl Daniels, struggling through the final years of childhood on their individual and painful journeys to adulthood. Three Billy Maddox Stories, a collection of three long short stories, restores readers to the worlds of the two young men who first appeared as Border Patrol agents in Billy Maddox Takes His Shot (2016). Before taking on the “guns and greens” of law enforcement in Arizona’s bleak Sonoran Desert, both experienced hard coming-of-age moments fraught with poor if well-intentioned choices, struggles with personal uncertainty and devout searches for assurance from mentors and religion.
Three Billy Maddox Stories opens with “Billy and Darla”, the dark tale of an impulsive, jealous beauty seeking empty entertainment for a night by convincing the adolescent Billy Maddox that his current girlfriend does not want to stay with him. Only when law enforcement gets involved does Billy see the danger of her vision. “God’s Fiery Touch” finds Billy, a year beforehand, pushed into participation in a weekend youth church retreat. Having experienced nothing of physical contact but the back of his father’s bitter hand as a result of the untimely death of Billy’s younger brother, Billy learns from other troubled teens that the human touch can heal as well as hurt.
Finally, the centerpiece of the book is the novella-length “Green Bay Outsiders”, featuring 22-year-old Carl Daniels. Raised in the Allouez neighborhood of Green Bay, Wisconsin with the potential for a practical career and opportunity for family, Carl nevertheless finds himself impressed by the experience of his uncle, a Vietnam Vet who fought in Khe Sanh in 1968. The rewards of a suburban lifestyle seem safe and appealing, but Carl continues to struggle with a drive to leave love, family and home behind for the world of greater life experience.
Fear. Questionable judgment. Survival of adulthood’s painful rites of passage. Three Billy Maddox Stories will soon be available for pre-order from Amazon and other online retailers.
Author’s Note: “Billy and Darla” has been made available as a free short story. Click through the “Billy and Darla” cover image in the right column of this page and download a copy from Instafreebie.