A Novel by Butch Mandatta Ponzio


For Robert A. Clark, Jr.
(1943 - 1998)


Authors Note:

       Not long ago I awoke from a dream so intense it demanded my full attention.  In the dream I was a criminal defense investigator sitting at the defendant’s table in a Vermont courtroom.  The defendant, a strange looking young man who appeared dull-witted, stammered unintelligibly as he struggled to tell his version of the facts.  Out of nervousness for him I unthinkingly began tapping my fingers against the tabletop, beating out a rhythm that resounded in the high-ceilinged courtroom.  The defendant heard my nervous drumming and started rapping his story to its beat, finally able to convey his testimony.  The courtroom fell silent as he wove his captivating tale.
       Lucky’s Dream is that tale told as a fast-paced mystery written in the American tradition of a dime store crime novel. As such it entertains and titillates, yet unexpectedly moves to deeper levels through a series of related myths mysteriously woven into the story.
      It begins on the night investigator Jimmy St. John is seduced by his married boss, Public Defender Diane Ashley-Warner.  When their affair suddenly goes awry, Jimmy flees her home in humiliation, driving blindly through the first snowstorm of the season.  Moments after deciding to disappear from his life, Jimmy discovers a wrecked sheriff’s car from which he rescues Lucky, his bizarre new homicide client who speaks in whispers or howls like a dog.  Jimmy suspects that the police may have tortured Lucky, branding him with what looks like a crude symbol.   Compelled by legal ethics to return Lucky to his suspected tormentors, Jimmy chooses instead to help him escape, thereby becoming a fugitive himself.  Accompanying them on their unlawful flight from Vermont is Jimmy’s closest friend Odysea, who has asked for help in reaching the deathbed of her first woman lover.  During their three-day road trip to the Hill Country of Texas, Odysea urges Jimmy to reveal a long-held secret, and thereby to heal himself.  In the end they each share their secret torments, providing insider looks into such diverse subcultures as sixties revolutionaries, nineties lap dancers, millennial lesbians.
       Because Lucky’s Dream contains adult themes, including eroticism and violent conflict, it is not appropriate for young readers.   Moreover, while the characters and places are fictitious or are used fictitiously, the story includes my own life experiences and those of family and friends, some of whom actively participated in the creative process by sharing what they have done or would have done under similar circumstances.  Thus, Lucky's Dream reaches beyond fiction into the mixed realm of dream, imagination, myth, and reality.

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