Excerpt from On the Fringe by Gregory G. Barton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

On the Fringe

and Other Uncommon Tales of Golf

By Gregory G. Barton

On the Fringe
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback: Jun 2001,
    324 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

From The Girl With The Swing

The shimmering curtain of late summer heat maintained an uncertain distance as I raced along the narrow ribbon of pavement. I had long since tired of the mirage and its equally illusive accomplice, the maddeningly flat terrain that stretched on forever in all directions. Together they poked and prodded at my imagination until I began to wonder whether I was really moving at all or simply frozen to the spot as the unchanging world rushed past.

So when the billboard loomed out of the haze inviting me to Grab a cold one at Walt's General Store and Feed Emporium (just five easy miles east of the highway) I took the exit without the slightest regret for the detour. There was nowhere I needed to be, no one waiting anxiously for my return; just the end of another long and mildly fruitful sales trip through the farm belt.

The wind swept through the open window as I sped past fields of corn and soy and sunflower, leaving a long trail of dust to slowly settle back to earth. In one of these fields I noticed a young man driving golf balls into a plot of cut cane. What caught my eye was the intensity the youth displayed towards the practice session, and the odd fact that he seemed to be hitting an entire bushel of balls instead of a mere bucket.

Welcome to Morely, Population 89 another sign announced as I entered the tiny town almost hidden beyond it. Beneath this someone had scrawled: The smack-dab middle of Nebraska. The entire town consisted of a single block and the eight buildings that graced its parallel walks. Locating the general store was not a difficult task, especially since the proprietor had painted one whole side of its rusting tin roof with: "Walt's, Where You Can Get Just About Anything You're Lookin' For."

"Yeah, right," I muttered as I left my car and climbed onto the weathered porch.

I stepped through the screen door and revised my initial estimate of the place. It was much bigger than it appeared from the street, and the first thing I saw upon entering was a wide assortment of computer hardware, each decked out with the latest and greatest features fresh from the fertile valley of Silicon. Surrounding this high-tech display, Walt had carefully arranged an ensemble of stuffed prairie dogs posed with various musical instruments. Their bright, beady eyes glittered with mockery.

My interest piqued, I began to wander down the aisles. Most of the shelves seemed devoted to the ordinary staples found in any backwater store, yet sprinkled here and there among the everyday were other, less pedestrian wares. An Italian espresso machine tucked innocently between the Coffee Mate and the Folger's Crystals caused me to linger for a moment, as did the vintage WWII U.S. Army Air Corps parachute that was trying very hard to blend in with the rest of the sporting goods. I strolled past a saxophone, a speargun, a jackhammer, a telescope, a fax machine, and a lobster trap that reeked of brine and seaweed. A hijacked New York City parking meter, its red violation flag waving impotently, lured me down an aisle to gawk at a rather shocking array of women's lingerie modeled on, of all things, old milk cans with faces painted on their battered skins.

But by far the most interesting item that Walt had to display was the huge polar bear rug that had been tacked across the back wall. Dangling from a shiny claw was a small tag claiming that the rug was once the property of Errol Flynn and the site of many a risqué romp with an assortment of Hollywood starlets. I stepped back and pitied the once majestic brute, finding it hard to imagine wicked old Errol writhing naked on the snow-white fur with Monroe, or Mansfield, or whomever, clutched in a drunken embrace.

I suppose the idea was for someone to purchase the rug and carry on the tradition, but the bear's hazy glass eyes had an odd glint to them, as if to suggest that they had witnessed enough fornicating, thank you very much, and would like to be left to hang in peace. Even the carnivorous mouth managed to express its contempt for the rug's sordid past, frozen not in a snarl but rather a grimace of distaste.

Copyright Gregory G Barton 2001. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.