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    The Adventures of Daz and Alex    

What could be more glorious than two friends, an old Dodge Lancer and the highway ahead? Nothing. So climb in and hold on!
"Alex says it's me, but it's him. It's got to be him, because this kind of weird griff never happens when I'm alone."
Thus begins the deceptively simple story of 19-year old Daz, a half-Hispanic Californio to whom Spanish is a foreign language, his hapa-Hawaiian friend Alex, and their drive across country to visit a cousin in New York.
"Grandmas see Alex's easy white-teeth grin and they can't resist saying, 'What a nice young man!' The real freeze is that these same ladies take one look at me and figure I'm some kind of bargain-rack hoodlum. Me, who's actually the nice one."
Daz's self-constructed slang and rambunctious story-telling puts readers right in the backseat from their initial struggle to wrest the mysteriously stored Dodge Lancer from Old Man Ching to their jobs with the Odd Squad, the Vietnam vets building homes in the blazing heat of the Central Valley.

Theirs is a journey of odd jobs taken, of temptations to violence seized and rejected, of breakdowns and repairs, of self-reliance and sacrifice--of an American identity being earned, not bestowed.

If you'd like to read the full chronicles of their adventures, just buy a copy of I-State Lines (Permanent Press, April 2006) from my favorite independent bookstore in Iowa, The Kaleidoscope or from The book makes an ideal gift for any young adult or aging Baby Boomer, or anyone in between.

The Bullies' Comeuppance
"A couple of big ugly white jock types had somehow picked me to spike in junior year."

Our First Night Out: Las Vegas
"You have to hand it to these Vegas casino owners. They put the grinderia in the very back of the casino, down by the parking garage, so you have to walk through the entire casino before you can eat."

"Despite the fact I know Alex will inevitably get us in griff up to our chins, I am always surprised when we step into it. It always looks so peaceful, like what could go wrong here?"

A Day in the City
"Nikki's waiting in the hallway for us, and I figure she's heard the whole conversation even if she doesn't show it. She's dressed in tight black jeans and a loose black blouse with red buttons, and I can't take my eyes off her face."

Kyle's Hands
"A guy with unkept shoulder length-blond hair is sitting in the middle of the big bar that runs across the back wall, and when he turns his head to see who just came in he smiles and nods at Rich. I'm surprised that Rich is friends with some old hippie, but he says, "Let's go sit with my buddy Kyle," and we trail behind him as he walks to the bar."

Our New York Play
"One afternoon Alex and I are sitting on Benny and Tita's living room floor reading and listening to the radio when Benny skims in and tells us, "You guys got the parts. First rehearsal is tomorrow afternoon."


Copyright 2008 Charles Hugh Smith all rights reserved in all media. No reproduction in any media in any format (text, audio, video/film, web) without written permission of the author.