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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

With Ed Williams



Title: ChristmaSin': A Juliette Christmas Epistle
Release Date: 11/1/2009
Author: Ed Williams
Author Website: www.ed-williams.com; www.christmasinthebook.com
Publisher: Champagne Books
Buy Link: http://www.champagnebooks.com/books/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=82&zenid=66c36dcf505f1d76085a6dee1e364f98
Genre: Mainstream Fiction/Humor


Blurb:

"The walk back into the house is a lot longer on account of toting this heavy-ass wood, and by the time we both get inside,we are hassling pretty hard. Ed Jr. turns, looks at us, laughs, and then tells us that he is going to recite an old Christmas poem for us that he’d heard many years ago. We know that it is going to be good, when he tells us to sort of listen out for Mama, and that if she happens to come into the room, mum’s the word. Once we all understand the ground rules, my dad clears his throat and recites this tender rhyme for us:

“Santa’s outfit is red and white, it’s all that he has, but it fits just right, his boots are black, his balls are blue, being cold all night does that to you.

He has a doll for Cindy, a dog for Fred, and a New Orleans woman, sittin’ in his sled.

He laughs so jolly, never sad nor whiny, now he’s off in his sleigh, to hone some Louisiana heiny.”


Welcome Ed, you hunkish thing, you! What is your latest offering?
Rie darlin', I've written a little rural Southern-themed Christmas novel called, ChristmaSin': A Juliette Christmas Epistle. I could say lots about it (and I hope you'll let me), but I can at least say here that it's definitely a bit different than the sugar plum and dancing fairies offerings that are so typical of this season.

What is ChristmaSin all about?
I grew up in a tiny southern community called Juliette, Georgia (its one claim to fame is that the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed there). Most of the people who lived there didn't have a lot and struggled for whatever they did have. We had lots of things that happened during the Christmas season over the years, one example being the big cock fight that the men staged about a week before Christmas. Those who won their bets made their Christmas money for their families that year.
I got to thinking one day that what Christmases in small towns like Juliette were back then were lots different than what I've read in most southern Christmas literature. So, with that in mind, I got to thinking - what if I took things that really happened in Juliette during those Christmas seasons from long ago, blend them together with some BS, and tell it exactly like the 17 year old version of Ed Williams would have. I did just that, and ChristmaSin' was born.

That sounds delightful and a lot like the town I live in! How did you come up with the idea?
Honestly Rie, one day I was reading yet another southern Christmas book that made it sounded like a Waltons Christmas story. I could've gagged out loud, and my disgust actually fueled my desire to come up with something a tad more realistic.

Tell me about your past releases and a little something about yourself!
Rie, I'm kinda like the Forrest Gump of literature, truth be told. I never imagined I'd be writing books, but here I be. Past releases include:
1998 - Sex, Dead Dogs, and Me: The Juliette Journals
2000 - Sex, Dead Dogs, and Me: The Paperback!
2003 - Rough As A Cob: More From the Juliette Journals
2007 - My story, Sally the Screamer, was featured in the Southern humor anthology, Southern Fried Farce.
A little something about myself? I like Atomic Fireballs, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, riding mega roller coasters (I've ridden Kingda Ka, and front row), and goin' to Vegas anytime I can. I'm not allergic to women, either.


We have BTO and Roller Coasters in common, Ed. Now tell me what can we expect from you in the future?
Expect me to enjoy myself doin' the things I like to do. If the book sells and Ellen (Champagne Books owner/publisher) or some other publisher wants another one, then we'll talk and see what happens.


Thank you for joining me, Mr. Williams, it's been awesome. Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?
Yeah, please give my book a shot, it's pretty damned wild up until the end, then we do end it with a bit of a Christmas message. Happy holidays to one and all!
EXCERPT:
(During the annual Christmas celebration at the Juliette Methodist Church, December 1972, as told by a 17 year old Ed Williams. We pick it up at this tender point...)

You total these two women up, Miss Evelyn and Miss Annie Bell, and you have two solid women who don’t back off from a whole lot. And they don’t regarding this megaton fart that Miss Simulah has just put out. Miss Evelyn gets the ball rolling when she whispers loudly, "My goodness, someone needs to change their eating habits, I think we’ve been graced with the after effects of someone who’s enjoyed a lunch of red hots and baked beans." That is a shot aimed right at Miss Simulah, cause everyone knows she loves those damn cheap ass red hot sausages (Ed Jr. said one time that she likes them because she never gets a helping of some true pink trouser sausage, but Mama came in before he could say much more about that) more than anyone around these here parts. Miss Simulah blushes a tad and looks away from Miss Evelyn, trying to act like she didn’t hear what she’d said, and that’s when she looks right into Miss Annie Bell’s face. You can tell it sort of shakes Miss Simulah up to be looking right at Miss Annie Bell, and it gets even worse when Miss Annie Bell whispers, "Simulah, we are in the House of the Lord, and what I’m about to say isn’t very Christian, but it needs to be said. I can put up with your body stink, even though I shouldn’t have to, but when you blend in the fruit of your ass with it, why, it’s just too damned much. You can either excuse yourself and go home, or else we can have a real set-too right here. I mean it. I’m not whiffing your ass pearls for the rest of this night, dearie."

It’s hard to believe that Miss Annie Bell just comes right out and says that, but she does, and Miss Simulah shoots up out of her seat like a rocket. She then bustles down her pew, walks down the aisle and leaves the church, whispering something to the ushers about leaving her stove on at home. All of our suspicions that Miss Simulah is the church stinker proved to be correct as all of the funk and farts clear up right after she leaves. Miss Annie Bell notices it, too, ‘cause she leans over to Miss Evelyn and says, "Eve, it may not have been the right thing to point out Simulah’s problem, but maybe it will cause her to stand a bit closer to the washrag tonight." Miss Annie Bell nods in agreement, and then their conversation ends as Reverend Malkinski calls the service to order.

I know ya’ll are expecting me to say that I am bored as all hell at the service, but it actually isn’t too bad. Reverend Malkinski talks about how the birth of Jesus was the single most important event in the history of mankind, and you can’t argue too much with that. He also talks about living a good life and about being a good example to your family and friends, and I guess I’m a fairly decent example of that while the sun’s up, but at sunset I sort of turn into something different. Maybe I’m a tad like the Lon Chaney, Jr./Wolfman situation, or the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one. Rev Malkinski also talks about Christmas being a season for children, and that we should all do everything we possibly can to be good to them this time of year. He says if we do that they’ll grow up associating positive things with Christmas, Christ, and the meaning of the holiday. He then reminds us all that there were some really poor people out in the world, children who would get nothing for Christmas and who might not even have decent clothes to wear or food to put inside their stomachs. Situations like that makes my stomach knot up inside, because any man with two balls ought to be able to put some food on the table, and I can’t stand to think about any small child suffering. This isn’t masculine worth a shit to say, but it makes me cry down inside to my soul to think about any child hurting needlessly. Just the thought is wrenching, and it makes me want to kill an adult who would deliberately cause a child to suffer because that adult ought to be willing to do just about anything to help that child.

I have to make myself stop thinking anymore about that ‘cause I will bust out crying in church, so I make myself focus back on what Reverend Malkinski is saying. That isn’t the best idea in the world as the good Reverend is now telling us this lame ass story about a Christmas a few years back where he bought his wife some glass sculpture type things for their dining room table. Apparently, he liked the glass stuff, but Mrs. Malkinski obviously thought they looked like shit because she gave him some cock and bull story about how nice they were and then she told him she was going to sacrifice and donate them all to the Salvation Army so that some other less fortunate family could have a better Christmas. The whole crowd laughs pretty hard, Mrs. Malkinski blushes, and I whisper to Jenny that the Reverend Malkinski is a really good preacher. That he is, but the main reason I bring it up is so I can score some brownie points from Jenny for being so attentive during the sermon. Normally, during any sermon I’ll think about most anything other than God--women are typically my first choice, then football, and if those two fail to keep my attention I just run some good old Elvis tunes through my head. Elvis is really doing good these days, he’s doing some concerts out in Vegas and all, and there are rumors going around that he might head back out on the road again. I would give ten years of my life to be able to see him in person, but there’s no way in hell he’ll ever find his way to Juliette. Hell, if he found Macon it would truly be a blessing from God, although I wonder if God would consider blessings and rock and roll in His same thought process. I’ve gotta start thinking about something else, ‘cause God might use me as a cue ball in a pool game with the devil if He starts paying attention to all this crazy ass shit going on in my head.

Reverend Malkinski speaks a little more about Jesus and the Christmas season, and you can see all the small children in the congregation getting antsier and antsier. The reason for this is that each year our church draws names (kids only) and buys a gift for whosever name they pick. We have lots of kids in our church, so this year there is a big stack of gifts waiting for them up under the tree, and they’re ready to tear into them. When the tension gets so bad that it seems like the whole church needs to burp, Reverend Malkinski says, "Wait just a second! I think I hear what? Are there some reindeer outside? Why in the world would any reindeer be here tonight?"

All the kids start ooohhhing and ahhhing, and Reverend Malkinski walks over to a side door, opens it, and in walks ole Santa himself! Well, it’s not really Santa, but it does happen to be my Uncle Dog who’s sweating it out in the red and white suit. It’s really pretty easy to tell who it is given the cheap ass Christmas outfit that they have "Santy" wearing. The britches are about eight sizes too big, the belt is made of the cheapest vinyl imaginable and keeps sliding all over Santa’s gut, and the beard honestly looks like one of those thick old woven carpet rugs that you see on the floor in a doctor’s office. I did notice that Santy has some real rosy cheeks tonight, but I have a feeling I know the true reason for them.

Santy has his bag over one shoulder and a walking stick clutched in his other hand. As he walks over to the church Christmas tree he turns to lower his bag to the floor. When he does, it causes his other hand to come around and thwack his walking stick right into the tree. It’s a pretty solid shot, several ornaments are popped or knocked out into the crowd, and a couple of tree limbs are broken and left dangling off the tree. Santy slips up for a second and said "damn" right out loud, which causes almost everyone there to start laughing and buzzing around like a bunch of yard flies over at Winn Dixie. The Reverend Malkinski is trying to cover it all up by saying "darn" two or three times, but nobody is buying his feeble attempt at a dodge. Ed Jr. is tickled as all hell with the way Santy has just expressed himself, but he has to hold in his laughter as my mom is staring at him like a condemned man does the clock during his final hour. Of course, him not being able to laugh forces Brother and I to share his fate, as we both know that we would tote the red ass if we slip up and laugh out loud. That’s the worst thing to me about church, you have to hold stuff in sometimes when you‘d really just love to let it all out. We can’t do that, though, because Ed Jr. told me one time that, "If men could do anything they wanted, the world would be nothing but farts, jism, sass talk, and women whose legs were spread wider than the Grand Canyon." He’s pretty much hitting that one on the head, although we guys don‘t wanna admit it.

The laughter finally dies down, and Santy goes over and sits down on a big wooden chair and starts handing out presents. He reads off each child’s name, and then that particular child comes up and receives their present. Most of the kids who come up are shy. They just get their gifts from Santy and walk back to their parents. One little girl, however, is different. Her name is Samantha Griffin, and when her name is called out she walks up and takes her gift from Santa. Then, instead of shying away or running off, she looks up at him and says, "Santa, I love you and God loves you. I didn’t get anything for Christmas last year 'cause my daddy got the cancer and died. Thank you for being so good to me." If that isn‘t enough to tug at your heart, the little girl then holds her arms open for Santa to hug her. Santy does, and there aren’t too many dry eyes in the congregation while the two of them embrace. The little girl then steps back, waves at Santa, and returns to her seat. With all due respect to the Reverend Malkinski, little Samantha probably did more to remind everyone of what the true Christmas spirit is all about than anything else presented during this evening. And then some.