My brother Dave texted me because he ran into our cousin Mark, who had some family items for him.
This may seem normal to you with standard families. It’s remarkable for us because we are related to Mark through our father, Jerry, who left us when I was seven. David searched out Jerry in Oklahoma almost twenty years later, and reconnected with many family members, including our grandmother, Jerry’s brother Jack, and Jack’s son Mark. Jerry died within months.
Thirty years and 150 pounds later and yet still, somehow, when Dave and Mark crossed paths at a hardware store in Albuquerque, Mark said “Oh, hi Dave ... you’ve gained weight.” I mean, would you recognize a stranger you’d met thirty years earlier? A bald fat stranger in New Mexico, when you met a young thin stranger in Oklahoma? Remarkable.
That was about five years ago. For some reason, last weekend they met up and Mark passed on “a box of Jerry’s stuff.” The provenance of this shoebox of stuff matches the order in which people died - it must have been boxed up by Jerry’s mother on Jerry's death, then passed on to his brother, then moved on to Mark.
From the description, it sounds like it should have been pitched years ago. Dave was disappointed that the box contained no newspaper clippings from our reporter father, but it does contain an unpublished novel. Dave reports that Running High and Looking Good is "confusing in parts." Perhaps, Dave further speculated, Jerry might have written it while drunk.
I perked right up at that. I got a degree answering questions like, “what is Faulkner trying to say in The Bear?” Sussing out what drunk writers mean is my forte.
I will be getting the Novel From Beyond the Grave in the mail in a few weeks.