When we last saw Hank Fitzpatrick in Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer, he seemed to be finally figuring things out. He had a girlfriend. He had a life. But his secrets were yet to be discovered, his demons yet to be exorcised, and soon he would have no choice but to face them both. Gone is the boy we came to love, replaced by a man we struggle to like. Welcome back to Empire Ridge. Making Out with Blowfish is fear and loathing in the suburbs as told in Brian Sweany’s uniquely uninhibited voice.
“What’s the point of loving something only for it to be taken away?”
“The point is in the loving,” Beth says. “Our willingness to endure the heartbreak and to still travel down the road together hand in hand even though we know how it’s going to end is exactly what makes life worth living and people worth loving.”
And with those words, seemingly on cue, Darius Rucker stands in front of a microphone on The Late Show. He settles into the chorus of a country song I’ve never heard: “Don’t think I don’t think about it, don’t think I don’t have regrets, don’t think it don’t get to me, between the work and the hurt and the whiskey.”
I try not to smile.
Beth stands up, pulls me out of bed with her.
“One more dance?” she says.
I take her hand in mine. “How about we keep that number a little more open-ended?”
“Forever it is,” I say.
Since 2000, Brian Sweany has been the Director of Acquisitions for Recorded Books, one of the world’s largest audiobook publishers. Prior to that he edited cookbooks and computer manuals and claims to have saved a major pharmaceutical company from being crippled by the Y2K bug. Brian has a BS in English from Eastern Michigan University, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1995. He’s a retired semiprofessional student, with stopovers at: Wabash College, the all-male school that reputedly fired Ezra Pound from its faculty for having sex with a prostitute; Marian University, the former all-female school founded by Franciscan nuns that, if you don’t count Brian’s expulsion, has fired no one of consequence and is relatively prostitute-free; and Indiana University via a high school honors course he has no recollection of ever attending.
Brian has spent most of his life in the Midwest and now lives near Indianapolis with his wife, three kids, and two rescue dogs. For more details, check out the author’s website at: www.briansweany.com.
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