Hey! Thanks for joining me today for my stop of the blog tour. If you’ve been following along and already know all the basics, feel free to scroll down to the excerpt! If you’re just joining us, welcome! Read on for more info on “No Sad Songs” as well as the author behind it, Frank Morelli.
Title: No Sad Songs
Author: Frank Morelli
Publisher: Fish Out of Water Books
Publication Date: Feb. 20, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction
Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined.
And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.
About the Author:
FRANK MORELLI has been a teacher, a coach, a bagel builder, a stock boy, a pretzel salesman, a bus driver, a postal employee, a JC Penney model (see: clerk), an actual clerk (like in the movie of the same name), a camp counselor, a roving sports reporter, and a nuclear physicist (okay, maybe that’s not true). At heart, he’s a writer, and that’s all he’s ever been. His fiction and essays have appeared in more than thirty publications, including The Saturday Evening Post, Cobalt Review, Philadelphia Stories, Jersey Devil Press, and Indiana Voice Journal. His sports-themed column—“Peanuts & Crackerjacks”—appears monthly at Change Seven Magazine.
A Philadelphia native, Frank now lives near Greensboro, NC in a tiny house under the trees with his best friend and muse, their obnoxious alley cats, and two hundred pounds worth of dog.
Chapter 18 – “Overture” (pg. 167-168)
The Crypt Keeper cracks his gavel against the surface of the bench. It’s like mortar fire exploding in my head. I can almost feel a hail of imaginary shrapnel knife through my skin, and my head gets all woozy, like I’ve just been concussed. The whole world goes mute, with all the members of the peanut gallery and the court reporters and officials moving about the chamber in a silent ballet—chaotic but still with some semblance of order and precision. These muted dancers rise up around me. They wash in on a high tide of clunky pirouettes and curious aggression, and they overpower my compromised senses with their blinding flashbulbs and the evil, blinking eyes on their video cameras. Their lips move and their gums smack in time with the vacant symphony, but it all feels more like a silent film to me—one of those grainy black-and-whites, but without the trademark and necessary title cards.
I sit in the chair behind the witness stand and watch it all unravel: watch the Crypt Keeper fold up his paperwork, slip it in a pocket within his robes and retire to high ground in the safety of his chamber; watch Uncle Nick fend off an entire hunting party of reporters with the rat-tattat of his “no comment” machine gun; watch Grandpa’s face twist and contort in fear, the pupils dilating again, as two bailiffs approach him with handcuffs swinging; watch John and Sofia sit in the gallery, the horror broadcast across their stupid faces.
Then I’m up out of the chair and bounding across the courtroom floor like an assassin or a special forces militant. A bailiff already has my grandfather up and out of his seat. He spins Gramps around and snaps one end of the cuffs around a bony wrist. I’m about to pounce, to rescue Gramps one last time, but the other bailiff—a large man with the shoulders of a linebacker—gets me in a choke hold and drags me in the opposite direction. I try to scream out to Grandpa. Try to tell them all they’re a bunch of bastards. That they need to unhand my grandfather before there’s trouble. That cuffing the old man could inflict irreversible trauma to his already damaged mind. But I either can’t push the words past my lips or they’re lost on the current of chaos rushing through the courtroom. And there’s nothing Nick can do as the smaller bailiff drags Grandpa off into the bowels of the courthouse, to a place where a set of steel bars are a man’s only company.
The monster bailiff releases his grip on my neck, but still has me wrapped up in a bear hug. He drags me past the gallery, past a quietly weeping John and a Sofia with her brown eyes all soft and sympathetic in a way I’ve never seen from her before. And all I want to do is walk past them forever and never talk to either one of them again for setting this whole scene in motion; for decimating the structure of my family so we’re like the tiny, jagged shards of a broken wine glass; for their ultimate and untimely betrayal.
Thanks for stopping by! The tour concludes tomorrow so don’t miss out!