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Book: 1 of 3

A novel by B.J. Farmer

Edited by: Jeff Ford

Cover by: Alex Saskalidis @ 187Designz

Facebook: www.facebook.com/B.J.FarmerAuthor

Website: billyjoefarmer.com

Email: bill@billyjoefarmer.com

Dedicated to my love, Amanda.

Text Copyright © 2020, B.J. Farmer

Chapter 1

I vividly remember sitting at my tiny desk, in my tiny room, on the tiny, frigid island made of rock and gravel, scrutinizing the totality of my life choices. Cooped up on a five-acre island for twenty-four hours of darkness every day, you tend to ruminate about such things. I kept telling myself one more rotation and then I'd never work another oil-drilling job ever again. I'd tell Miley to fuck off, and we'd go our separate ways. I’d take Avery with me, and we would find something else to do, even if it meant selling use cars in Pignuts, Arkansas. Couldn’t be any worse than what we were already doing.

I should’ve told Miley no to begin with. If it weren't for my friends, I would have. Miley closed the drilling operation I ran in East Texas. It was the only job I stayed long enough to get close to people, and of course, it was on the list to be shit canned. Pretty fitting, I guess, considering most of my adult life followed the arc of Miley's whims and needs. He never much cared about my feelings, or anyone else's for that matter. It was all about the money, baby.

I shook my head and sighed. I needed to stop thinking about things that depressed me, and I desperately needed to get some sleep before I started eating. When I was younger, I caroused with hookers, drank, took drugs, and did whatever the hell I wanted, no matter the harm to myself or others. But I grew up a lot during my time in East Texas. I started taking things seriously, and mostly got my mind right and my shit straight.

The loneliness and desolation I felt at the God-forsaken place people were calling the Patch reignited and reinvigorated my tendencies towards self-destructive behavior. Instead of paying dick goblins to cut lines of cocaine and rub their stinky titties in my face, I stayed in my room during my free time and ate myself into a stupor. That night, however, I chose to go to bed without gorging myself. Baby steps.

I made sure the alarms were set on both my watch and nightstand alarm. At that point during the rotation I was so worn out and depressed that one alarm just wouldn’t cut it. I might not have been so exhausted had the emergency light not burned so damn red and bright, keeping me awake and pissed off a good part of the night.

Is it an emergency light if it shines all the time? It's more like a shine-until-there’s-an-actual-emergency light: you know, just in case.

I asked Tom to take the bulb out, but he wouldn’t because he said it was against OSHA regulations. I could deal with a minor safety violation, especially if it meant I got a decent night’s sleep once in a while. I guessed the real reason Tom refused was because he wanted to see my fat ass fall off the ladder trying to take the bulb out. I showed him. I never messed with it.

Red light be damned, I eventually drifted off to sleep. I’m not sure for how long, but at some point I awoke to complete darkness. I wasn't sure if I was in the midst of a pleasant dream where the red light was magically snuffed out by OSHA hating pixies, or if I was awake and simply having the good fortune of the bulb having burned out. Either way, I was not sleeping, and it was out.

Not sure what time it was, I reached for my watch only to knock it to the floor. “Shit,” I muttered as I nearly tumbled out of bed after it.  Stumbling to my feet, I bent over where I thought it should’ve fallen only to misjudge my location and hit my head on the corner of the table. Staggering backward, I nearly tripped over my boots before finally catching my balance. I shook my head, trying to clear the light show taking place from all the stars I saw. I had been knocked out several times in my life, but never by a table – one not thrown at me anyway. I nearly marked that one off my bucket list.

Seriously, I thought.  A warm trickle of blood flowed from a burgeoning knot above my right eye. I filled the room with a stream of curse words. After taking a few moments to clear my head and wipe the blood from my forehead and eye, I decided to find my flashlight before doing much more pitch-dark exploration.

I staggered through the darkness towards my desk, leaving a wake of destruction in my path. Anything that could be knocked over, spilled, or otherwise broken asunder was. After several minutes of probing the dark, cluttered recesses in and around my desk, I finally found what I was looking for. Click… only it didn’t work.

I bashed the bastard but pounding it on the desk wasn’t nearly as effective as I’d hoped. It was dead. I just bought the damn thing the last time I was in Barrow, too. Cost me nearly fifty bucks. If Miley hadn’t been such a tight ass, I wouldn’t have needed to buy one for myself. I hoped Avery would have extra.

I blindly probed the floor until I found my watch. I was beginning to think the OSHA hating pixies were responsible for more than the emergency light. I pushed buttons hard, fast, two at a time, and every combination possible before concluding the damn thing had stopped working. My watch was dead, too.

Minutes later, and without breaking or lacerating any important body parts, I found my alarm clock. “Nothing fucking works,” I growled, as I

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