Revised cover


The big dreamers weren’t anywhere to be found in my bar that day. You know the kind, if you’ve ever been in a saloon. The big talkers who like to think they have life by the throat. If they were just a little luckier, or if fate was a little pluckier, they could improve their lot in life in a minute.

But you hear all those dreams, those half-lit ambitions, and you know they’re not going anywhere but from the bar stool to the privy, and back to their bar stool. And the drunker they get, the loftier the dreams.

Old Walt Zuckerman, who used to manage the Red & White, he always had the dream of buying himself a house boat. Said if he had one, he’d float on the lake all day, drink beer, and enjoy the fruits of his labor. What particular fruits, and what particular labor, he never said, but he was keen on buying that boat. And on what lake, I don’t have any idea. Wasn’t a lake within 200 miles of Handsome. I guess if you’re going to dream something up, the matter of a lake shouldn’t have no bearing.

Then he decided he was going to build that boat. He studied diagrams in Popular Mechanics, and even bought a garage-full of lumber. He said he sent away for blueprints from a company in Pennsylvania.

Walt spent endless weeks talking about that boat, and how he would name it “The Marie” after his high school sweetheart, and how he’d paint it green and stencil her name on it with bright orange paint. He would have a fully stocked kitchen, which he called the galley, and eat pork and beans and put ketchup on his eggs and leave a bottle of bourbon on his bedside table at night because no one could tell him he couldn’t because he would be the goddamned captain of The Marie.

Of course, the lumber gathered termites, and his hammer and nails turned rusty, and it came to pass you couldn’t buy Walt a drink if you mentioned The Marie. He was done with it, and he never spoke of her again.

Time slipped away, like it always does, and life got in the way. And so it is with everyone who leaves a crumpled dollar bill on the counter of my bar. For every “trade her in for a new Cadillac, maybe next summer,” there’s another greasy sawbuck in my cash drawer.


Excerpt from Ordinary Handsome, available here. Thanks for reading!


10 thoughts on “Revised cover

  1. D. Wallace Peach April 28, 2017 / 2:28 am

    I like it, Steven. The shadows are wonderful and appropriate for the mood. Very nice, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. patriciaruthsusan April 28, 2017 / 10:04 am

    That new cover is great, Steven. The building on the cover gives us an idea of what the rest of the town looked like. I liked the excerpt also. I could picture Walt and the scene. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven Baird April 28, 2017 / 11:05 am

      Thank you! I based the cover on an old photo I found online and it ‘was’ Handsome to me. I’ve kept the photo in my files and always wanted to use it.


  3. Think. Write. Inspire. May 1, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    Very good – the cover and excerpt!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Almost Iowa May 2, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    You have to wonder about those big dreamers, perhaps fate has granted them a kindness. I do not know what is sadder, the big dream lost to termites or the one that became a trap by coming true. 🙂

    Great writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven Baird May 2, 2017 / 9:49 pm

      I known what you mean. I don’t know which one is sadder, but I think if you make the dream the focus of your life, you miss out on the smaller, vital stuff. I’m still chasing the dream, but it doesn’t consume me like it used to.
      And thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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