Hunting Old Sammie
By John Lauricella
Publisher: Irving Place Editions
Genre: Literary Fiction – Reality, Jewish-American
Formats Available For Review: print, epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf,
“Hunting Old Sammie” is a dark comedy about next-door neighbors who regard each other as small-stakes terrorists. Armand Terranova, once a petroleum-industry analyst, has escaped his Wall Street overlords in the wake of 9/11 by moving his family to Ithaca, NY, where he and his wife Leah have rebuilt an old house into their new home. Just across the property line, Luke Robideau lives with his elderly mother in a run-down Cape Cod wreathed with an aura of poverty and a dread sense of threats both foreign and domestic rising on all sides. During the summer of 2004, suicide bombers and IEDs kill American soldiers in Iraq. Al Qaeda kidnaps aid workers, translators, and journalists, then beheads them. In Afghanistan, the hunt for Osama bin Laden has stalled amid the caves of Tora Bora. In his renovated bungalow, Armand monitors America s wars even as he hides from them a practice he shares unknowingly with Luke, who has stocked a sniper s nest in anticipation of fighting terrorists head-on. Luke and Armand have never exchanged a word and distrust each other on sight. Luke s cats and dogs roam freely and foul Armand s lawn and patio. Stalking the animals with a BB-gun, Armand feels his neighbor as a threat: an unmarried, ill-kempt big man who lives with his elderly mother. To Luke, Armand is an immigrant peasant lucky at Luke s expense. Luke depends on Mother s Social Security and siblings checks to live in his childhood home, while his neighbor has a family, a renovated house, and enough money. How can a man feel safe in his ordinary life when his country is fighting two wars against hidden enemies and his neighbor seems a co-conspirator? When small-animal excrement begins to fly across the property line, paranoia, hostility, and suspicion tip toward violence and a confrontation only one man can win.
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