You could probably diagnose me with several mental disorders, but Celebrity Worship Syndrome is not one of them. Don’t get me wrong. I admire actors, whose climb from obscurity to the big screen must be similar to my quest for literary greatness. In spite of that, I’ve never been one to tune in to awards shows. I just don’t care who attends, what they wear, or how well they carry themselves across the red carpet.

That will change this Sunday, January 6, 2019, when I peg my eyeballs to the TV during the Golden Globes ceremony. As cameras pan the crowd, I’ll be spying like the CIA, trying to find celebrities who juuuust might be bored enough to leaf through the book they find in their gift baskets. You see, Running Wild Press‘s dynamic executive editor, Lisa Kastner, managed to score a deal that put its Anthology of Stories, Volume 2 in gift baskets for nominees and presenters.

Now look, I don’t expect to receive a phone call from any producers asking to adapt the story into a screenplay. And although I didn’t think about the notoriety of future readers while writing the story, it is sort of cool that it might fall into famous hands.

So, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, I’ll apologize in advance for my unnerving contribution, “Justice.” On its face, it’s a story about an abused boy lost amid the cutthroat world of purebred dog shows. But really, it’s about not taking responsibility for the worlds we create. Here’s the opening, if you regular Joes would like to read along with your favorite nominee:

Johnny Sinclair says God don’t answer no prayers. I’m gonna say one anyway.

Please, God, don’t let Mama hear my belly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I cross my arms and lean forward in the passenger seat of our 1987 Coachman Classic motorhome. My stomach rumbles, but Mama don’t notice, and that’s a miracle. I can’t wait to tell Johnny how God just saved me from a bloody mouth. Johnny will say Mama never notices me anyhow, but that’s a daggum lie. When I do something wrong, she notices me plenty.

Mama looks tired, but her fingernails are painted and her brown hair’s still done up. That earlier smear of Red Rhapsody lipstick is pinkish now, but she looks nice, Mama does. As nice as somebody can in secondhand clothes and shoes from the clearance rack at McKenzie Mason’s consignment shop.

There’s only one thing in our rig prettier than Mama, and that’s Vice, the Belgian Malinois crated in the back.

Vice—or, as Mama makes me call him, Champion Maple Grove Miami Vice—ain’t hungry. He ain’t sunburned or bit up by mosquitoes, and he didn’t sleep three straight nights in a passenger seat, neither. No, he’s lying on a tufted polyfiber cushion covered in ultra-soft polyester fleece. He smells like baby powder, and his belly is chock full of my dang hot dogs.


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