"In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND
in the 'Maritine Sailor's Cathedral.'"
--G. Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
There was a an empty casket before the church altar. Next to the coffin, there was a easel with a blurry, blown up photo of B. Traven Jr. with his safari hat on. A man with wild hair and a bad application of fake spray tan steps to the podium.
"Hello, I am Giorgio Tsoukalos; you may remember me from such shows as UFO Hunters, In Search of . . . (the newer version), and I am also the producer of Ancient Aliens. It is with a heavy heart that I come to you today. I had the honor of working with B. Traven Jr. on all of these shows. Like me, he was ready to believe every wild-eyed, outlandish conspiracy theory that sailed down the pike. And the world is a sadder place without him in it.
Like many of you, I didn't know much about the private life of B. Traven Jr. Ancient alien theorists have hypothesized that he was actually an alien himself. Personally, I'm not going to say that he was an alien, but yes, he was an alien. There is one thing I do know for sure. He liked to read. He didn't use one of those KindlesTM. I know he liked the tactile feel of the page between his fingers. Like a moth to a flame, he was attracted to any book with a clever title -- whatever the topic. Recently, I had seen him thumbing through the cartoon book, Darth Vader and Son (9781452106557) 14.95 by Jeffrey Brown. He was a Star Wars fan, but then, of course, most aliens are. I know he followed Jenny Lawson's blog and he was excited about the release of her new book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened (9780399159015) 25.95. He said that Jenny was one of the funniest writers he had ever stumbled upon.
B. Traven Jr. was also a huge Robert B. Parker fan, and he was relieved that Ace Atkins was hand-picked to continue his legacy with his new title, Lullaby (9780399158032) 26.95. He loved the name Ace Atkins. He said to me, 'Ace Atkins. Isn't that a great name? Doesn't it sound like the name of a fighter pilot, or a riverboat gambler, or maybe a professional golfer?'
And then he did that silly laugh of his, 'Ha, ha!'
This, of course, prompted me to ask, 'Speaking of names, what does the 'B' in B. Traven Jr. stand for?'
He said, 'G-man, I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Ha, ha!'
And the scary thing was that I don't think he was kidding. Being a benevolent alien, he probably would have just performed a mindwipe on me, if he had, but . . .
B. Traven Jr. loved parodies. He said he couldn't put the Harvard Lampoon's The Hunger Pains (9781451668209) 13.99 down . . ."
Suddenly the big doors at the back of the church groaned open, light streamed in, and the people in the pews craned their necks to see who stood in the doorway.
A man in shredded clothes yelled, "Hold on there! I'm not dead! Ha, ha!"
Odds & Sods
Randy and Kevin Kluck, the authors of Yooper Bars (9780615566214) 19.95 have been pounding the pavement and promoting their book. Also, their title will be featured in both this Sunday's Detroit Free Press & News and The Kalamazoo Gazette. There may be a mass exodus to the UP very shortly . . .
Stephen Colbert's childrens book, I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) (9781455523429) 15.99, which was endorsed by the late Maurice Sendak, is now available. I'm kind of a Colbert NationTM fan myself and he is already plugging the heck out of this book. He will make this title a bestseller . . .