A chance comment on Vermont's most popular talk show, Straddlin' the Fence, lands Darwin Hunter in a three-way race to be elected State Senator. Set against a political landscape as rocky and muddy as the garden during Mud Season, Darwin combats his wily, experienced opponents with his only long suit–the truth.
The King of Vermont is part two of "Stories and Tunes," Stephen Morris's "four-part" trilogy of life in the rural North.
King of Vermont
by Stephen Morris
from Chapter 5:
Captain Goo-Roo, or Darwin Does ARFO
"Every person in this room is a mover and shaker."
Townshend Clarke IV handed Darwin a drink.
"What's this?" asked Darwin.
"A highball? That's a grown-up drink. Can't I have a beer?"
"You can't drink beer at a function like this," lectured Townshend. "It's too declassé."
"If that means 'having no class whatsoever,' then beer's the drink for me."
"Look," said Walt Gunion with a nudge, "there's Dunwoody." He gestured with his eyes across the banquet room of Nino's Nook. Linwood "Woody" Dunwoody looked to be in his early fifties, a robust man with a logger's hands (but no ring on his weenie) and a ruddy face as creased as the terrain surrounding Center Granville. A group of five or six men circled the politician, their respective body postures acknowledging his dominance.
King of Vermont
by Stephen Morris
from Chapter 7 : Total Disclosure
Darwin Hunter rose as his name was called and walked to the podium. He nodded to Billy Mann, Captain GooRoo, who awaited him at the microphone. Billy had just completed the first public performance of "Total Disclosure," a hard-rocking ballad with a central theme of disillusionment built around a rousing chorus fraught with social significance. The song described politicians, parents, and community leaders who had in common only the fact that they were not what they seemed. The crowd joined in enthusiastically each time the chorus came, a testament to the dullness of what had preceded Billy Mann, more than anything else.
The applause now died to a smatter. Darwin cleared his voice, mostly to hear what it sounded like through the microphone. He began:
"My name is Darwin Hunter."
In the back he could see Sammi seated at the small table she shared with Natalie Weinstein. There was a sea of faces, perhaps a total of two hundred fifty. Sunny stood at the back of the tent with Emil and the Blanchard clan. Bennett and Teresa had aroused the only real excitement of the day, by picketing the entrance to the tent with placards saying Leave Us Alone! Now, however, their point made, their curiosity had gotten the better of them, so they were taking in the show along with everyone else.
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What is a "Four-Part Trilogy?"
Next up from The Public Press: the first three books, revised and improved, in Stephen Morris's Vermont epic, the four part trilogy.
Life has a way of interfering with art. Beyond Yonder, The King of Vermont, and Darwin and the Tunnel of Love were always intended by the author to be a single work, telling the epic story of the daily lives and times of the inhabitants of the tiny hamlet of Upper Granville, Vermont.
But life intervenes. It happens! Day jobs take priority. Parents grow old. Little publishers sell to big publishers. Editors move on to different jobs. Opportunities knock. Kids leave home. It happens! It happens! And it happens!
As a result, the epic novel came out in fits and spurts. First, Beyond Yonder. That's when the publisher got sold. Then, King of Vermont, that's when the editor quit. Meanwhile, a real life equivalent to Upper Granville began appearing on the pages of the Vermont Sunday Magazine. Now, the region had a name, Beyonder, to describe that part of Vermont that is next to nothing, but not far away from anywhere. Tales and More Tails is a collection of Beyonder's "Stories and Tunes."
The Public Press is pleased to present Beyonder in its original glory – ficticious and non-ficticious. This is the Director's cut, digitally remastered, and in full Dolby sound. This is Beyonder at the peak of foliage, at the depth of Mud Season despair, in the procreational frenzy of the vernal kaboom, and in the enveloping eternity of an August night watching the meteors shower in a part of the world where you can actually still see them.