Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Thursday Excerpt - Jonathan Farlow

Please welcome fellow NC author, Johnathan Farlow!

Holy War
Jonathan Farlow

You don't have to be very well read, very well informed, or very bright to realize that the events of the last year and a half have changed America forever. The tragedies of September 11th proved that the ivory tower that was the United States could be rocked and, although most of us heeded our country’s leaders and did not change our way of life, we changed our way of thinking. Our priorities and our view of those things that we took for granted changed, at least for a month or two, and a nagging fear that bordered on paranoia for some crept into our mindset.

The scope and the gravity of the previously mentioned events as well as their aftermath can be judged by their effect on Welbourne County, North Carolina. Throughout the history of this little patch of red clay it has proven to have a sturdy, almost uncanny, resistance to the social and political upheavals of the outside world. This division from the world around it was for the most part voluntary and owing to the pride and thick-headed stubbornness of its people as well as simple rolls of the dice. There's a saying among the old-timers that most people in the county were so poor that, when the Great Depression started, they didn't even notice.

During all the conflicts of this past century the combined lists of casualties from Welbourne County were limited to two during the Vietnam War and one Gerald "the Fink" Finkle, a naval Lieutenant in service during World War II who proved to be so obnoxious that his own men threw him overboard two days out of the Philippines in early 1944. Unbeknownst to all who knew him, the Fink lived for many years on a small uncharted atoll in the South Pacific. He was discovered by a Navy troop ship in 1971 and died on board on the way back to Hawaii.

Welbourne County’s armor, however, was not thick enough to keep out the demons that fell from the sky on 9/11, and that same fear, that same dread that something like this might happen again, began to creep in and fester like an open sore until it all came to a head this past summer.

If you want to be particular about it, it all started when the Sheriff’s Department raided that meth-house out on Adam's Ford Road in early April. Drugs, crime, and the filth that such poison brings with it was another evil of the outside world that occasionally (more and more often it seems) has crept in under the door. The raid was featured on the 11:00 news. Sheriff Leo Dorsey and his deputies took along a news crew from an affiliate in Winston-Salem. It was an election year and "Old Iron Britches," as Sheriff Dorsey is known around these parts, wanted the people of Welbourne County to see the lengths that he was going to "Crush that viper under his heel and send it back to the pit from where it came from." As he was quoted in The Ashewood Falls Harbinger the following day.

Sheriff Dorsey had taken a lot of flack for well over a year since an Ashewood High School freshman was pulled off the house trailer that serves as the school’s computer lab. He was buck naked, screaming something about his auto shop teacher being an assassin for the C.I.A. and, as discovered at Welbourne Memorial that night, stewed to the gills on crystal-meth. This was in contrast to what the Welbourne County Sheriff’s department had assured the people of the county: That drugs had not reached their little part of the world; they were not circulating through the schools, and they hadn't gotten to their children.

Truth is that one of the county's earliest residents, Ashewood Bennett for whom the town of Ashewood Falls is named found a bumper crop of marijuana growing on his land sometime in the late 1870's although he didn't know what it was until an Indian, the same Indian who had planted it there in the first place, identified it for him and introduced him to its euphoric qualities. He became an avid user and most people who knew him before then said it improved his behavior, coordination and personality.

Mrs. Jacinda Mann was also known to be an avid user of marijuana although she claimed that it was called hemp, was no relation to marijuana and, furthermore her physician had prescribed it to uncross her eyes. In more recent times the only well known citizen of Welbourne County to have had his own bout with drugs, or the only one to ever admit it, was our mayor, Johnston Farley, who confessed to developing a fondness for LSD while he was serving a tour of duty in Vietnam. The mayor had no trouble after he returned save one incident in early '78 when he hit Ruby Simpkins in the head with an umbrella because he saw Nikita Kruschev disappear into her beehive.

Jonathan Farlow has been writing for about ten years, experimenting with various styles. His short stories have appeared in online magazines and his articles have appeared in local newspapers. The novel, Holy War, is his first book. He lives in Archdale with his wife, Kathy, and his daughter Sara.

Holy War is a slightly irreverent satire of the world of fear that we presently find ourselves living in. Both Daniel McDaniel and the locals, who think that they are “onto” the supposed terrorists, find themselves in a world where they are not in control of their own lives. They try various methods to regain control but with differing levels of success.

You may contact Jonathan at
Order Holy War through Parkway Publishers


  1. That story definitely had me chuckling. I grew up in small towns and that is, for sure, small town!

    Straight From Hel

  2. Holy War definitely sounds like a fun and interesting read.

  3. The aspect of all of this from the "small town" viewpoint and lifestyle, history - definitely interesting!

  4. Great excerpt and I love the use of humor. The title is one of my favorite infamous oxymorons.

    Marvin D Wilson

  5. Jonathan is a great guy, too!

    And thanks for following, Cindy!

  6. Loved the excerpt. I'm a small town girl too.