Waiting For The Cool Kind Of Crazy
Black Rose Writing, Jan 29 2015, $17.95
The police tazes Harmon Burke; who thinks how pathetic that his last meal for defending his bipolar paranoid schizophrenic mother Cece before lockup is peanut butter. Still he faces Washington State three-strikes you’re out law for battering the next door neighbors while Cece will return to Rainier Psychiatric Treatment Center. Harmon explains to the cops that the neighbors used a bat while fighting with his mom. Eddy the Port Defiance officer owes fortyish Harmon a favor from years ago. He persuades the other party to drop their complaint; Eddy frees Harmon with a warning: no more get out of jail cards.
At his antiques restorer shop, Harmon waits for a potential renter of his vacant next door property when a fire inspector arrives. Recognizing Reich as nasty classmate Shorty; Harmon quickly realizes he has not changed in stature or personality. Shorty finds violations and includes a fine that will either close the shop or delay Harmon’s needed cancer treatment until it is too late. He admonishes Harmon do right by Frank. When the potential lessee arrives; thinking anyone but her Harmon knows why Frank sent his bulldog.
This is an intriguing drama that looks closely at a long time loser trying to do the “right thing”. Bewildered Harmon is unsure what he can do for his mom except chasing KGB agents; and aware that helping his new renter angers his influential enemy who will destroy him and his family. The perceptive look at the impact of mental illness on those closest to the person is astonishingly profound though the key support cast (except Cece) still feels underdeveloped. This is a fabulous character study of a drowning man.