Saturday, June 4, 2016

#MMBBR Guest Post Resolution: Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure by Andrew Joyce

It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year. 
By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure. 
When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next. 
On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite. 
They cannot stop or turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs. 

There are many antagonists in Resolution. Such as: 
Huck, tiring of the conversation, picked up the bottle and filled his and Molly’s glasses. Jass’ was still full. “Alright, Mister Knight, how do you plan on doing it? Take us out back and shoot us?" 
“I must say you are taking this like a gentleman. No crying or begging for mercy?” 
“Would I get any?” 
“Any what?” 
“Most likely not.” 
Huck looked at Molly and nodded. 
She stood with such force that she knocked her chair backwards and it started to fall. She had her gun out and in her hand before the chair hit the floor. The scraping noise of the chair as Molly stood turned the men’s attention from the gold to the table. It was the last act of their lives. Molly had a bullet into each one of them before they knew they were dead. 
The two-legs are just ahead. The three females fan out to attack on the left—to drive the two-legs to the rear, where the males await. The pup, in happy anticipation, watches and learns the way of the hunter. 
• • • • • 
“Here, Molly, take the pistol! Jass! Get back-to-back with Molly and get ready with one of your crutches. You may have to use it as a club.” 
Bright was itching to fly into the grayness and have at the interlopers, but Huck ordered him to stay put. So far, the dog had done as he had been told. Just then, a wolf shot out of the fog and snapped its jaws an inch from Huck’s arm. Bright did not wait for permission. He was off the mark and had his jaws clamped on the wolf’s neck before Huck could react. The wolf was bigger and stronger than Bright and easily shook him off. Then it started to melt back into the icy mist, but before it was completely swallowed up by the frozen vapor, another wolf attacked. It snarled and snapped at Molly, but did not go in for the kill. 
Molly couldn’t get off a shot because she was afraid of hitting Huck or Bright. Huck went to her side, handed her the rifle, and took the Colt. But before he could use it, the wolves were gone. 
“Why didn’t they finish us off?” stammered Molly. 
“They’re trying to drive us back a ways. The rest of the pack must be back there. But we’re gonna fool ’em. We ain’t movin’,” answered Huck. 
The Cold 
Black scabs from frostbite dotted Huck’s face. In other places, the flesh was purple where the skin was just beginning to die. His brows and beard were covered in a fine white frost. 
He had no idea how many miles he had covered. But he did know that he wasn’t going to cover many more. He wasn’t even sure how many days he’d been gone. He was as played out as a man could be and still be alive. He was starved, frozen, and so tired that it took all his will not to lie down in the snow and just give up. 
On his next step, he stumbled and fell headlong into the waiting and beguiling arms of The White Death. 

Andrew JoyceAndrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Emily has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog Danny, to toot it for me. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak very highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.
Good morning, dog fans. It is I, Danny the Dog, Andrew took me away from watching my TV shows to help him out here. Now I’ll never know Judge Judy’s ruling on the case where one girl ripped off the wig of another girl. And then the wigless girl called the wig ripper-offer a bad name. It’s such a shame; they used to be best friends. Whatever the ruling, I’m sure it will be fair and wise as all of Judge Judy’s rulings are. But back to Andrew: For a person who works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his new book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about our latest adventure. We’re always having adventures. However, I have no larger-than-life tale for you today. All I have to relay is the rather prosaic goings-on between Andrew and myself. He can be a pawful and he takes a lot of looking after and a lot of training, which brings me to my story.
I have an affinity for hot dogs. Yummy! For the longest time, Andrew gave me a hot dog every morning after I had taken him for his morning walk. As I have stated, yummy. But a dog has to try out new things, so a while back I stopped eating the given hot dogs. Well, not entirely. I’d eat half of it and leave the rest on the dock (we live on a boat). That was my way of letting it be known that I thought it about time we experimented with new cuisines.
For once, Andrew got the hint. He went to the grocery store and came back with something he called “dog treats.” TREATS! I wouldn’t give them to a cat! I suggested he read the label and see where they were made. “China,” he said. I just stared at Andrew until it dawned on him that China was the place that, a few years ago, sent over all that dog food that killed so many pooches. “Okay,” says he. “Let me try again.” And off he went, back to the supermarket.
This time he came back with sliced turkey. Double yummy! He explained that all the dog-type treats were made in China, so he went looking in the meat aisle to see if there was anything I might like. And lo and behold, he finally did something right—boy, do I love turkey!
Now—if you’re a human—this is the heart-rending part of the story, but if you’re a dog, what’s coming next is the best part of the story.
After turkey came into our lives, Andrew would give me a slice after our morning walk. And I must admit, for a while, I was happy with the single slice, but I was thinking, Why not see how far I can push it? Two slices would be better, three even more better.
I started my campaign by letting loose with a slight bark. Nothing extravagant. Just something to let Andrew know that I was displeased with the meager offering. It didn’t take long for him to get the hint. So I was now getting two slices a day. Time to go to work for that third slice.
But you want to know something? Andrew ain’t as dumb as he looks. He started cutting the slices in half . . . like I wouldn’t notice. Well, that set off the War of the Wills. Every morning, I demanded more, and every morning Andrew would fight me until, just to shut me up, I’d get another “slice.” Albeit they were now coming in half-slices, but those half-slices do add up.
So anyway, here we are months down the road. I’ve gotten Andrew up to five slices, or half-slices if you will, and sometimes, if I really push it, I’ll get a sixth slice. I must admit, when Andrew tells me that I am a royal pain in his butt, he has a point. I will not stop my “demand” barking until I’ve gotten as much as I can get from the old guy.
But this morning I think I might have pushed it too far. Andrew was at his computer waiting for someone to email him. No one ever does, but hope springs eternal, I guess. Anyway, I was angling for a seventh slice when he turned to me and said. “What’s wrong with you? You’ve got it made. I wait on you hand and foot. You’ve got complete healthcare—medical and dental. I take you up to the Tiki hut every night so that everyone can make a big deal about the famous Danny the Dog. For a lowly cur, you’ve got it made! Can’t you just leave it at six slices?”
Boy, was he hot under the collar. And did you notice that he called me “a lowly cur”?
There we stood. Eye to eye (sort of). This was going to be the defining confrontation in our relationship. This contest of wills would determine who would henceforth run the household. The seconds ticked by. The seconds turned into minutes. Neither of us giving ground, neither of us giving quarter to the other.
Then came the moment of destiny. When the history of Danny the Dog is written, students will be taught that this was when Danny the Dog came into his own.
Andrew stood, and with tears in his eyes, because of his defeat and humiliation he gave me a seventh slice of turkey.
That’s about it for now. If I hurry, I might be able to catch that old Rin Tin Tin movie on TCM.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book and make the old guy happy.
This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Emily for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

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