"Out of Print--Limited Availability."
"A Ride of a Lifetime" was the first of two books I have released, though I kinda feel like my second one ("A Chris Christmas Carol") only half counts.
It can no longer be purchased, nor found used for that matter. This is probably for the best.
It was a full-length parody novel, featuring an original Depression-Era story and characters, which aimed to lampoon young adult literature series like "The Bowery Boys" or "The Boxcar Children" and, more broadly, "Huckleberry Finn."
It was very crass and intentionally offensive, and needless to say it did not age well at all. For God's sake, the main characters were a prepubescent boy named Chester and an elderly naked man named Mr. Rudolph. I realize now, however, that there are more than a few parallels between their character dynamic and the one between Rick and Morty, so maybe I was on to something at least.
The plot, in short, was about our two heroes attempting to rehabilitate a dilapidated old airplane (one of those two-seater Snoopy Sopwith Camel-type biplanes) and making enemies along the way. Eventually they get mixed up with an attempted assassination of Herbert Hoover, the FBI pursues them, and then...zombies. Yeah, zombies. How cliché. Patton Oswalt had a book he released the year after I released mine that named "Zombie Spaceship Wasteland." He called it that because he believes creative teenagers are drawn to one of the three. All I can say now is...yep, I guess. To my credit, though, my zombies were not just generic shambling undead ones. Mine were written as hosts of the cordyceps fungus, which I still believe was the first time I had ever seen that done in a project. In my story, leeches from a polluted pond in Missouri called the "Krupp's Linkletter Leech" latched themselves onto Mr. Rudolph, who was immune, and he carried them to Utah where they infected the public. I called my the zombies "Kruppies" and they were moldy and covered with organic matter. By the end of the story, they had become less aggressive so the zombified inhabitants of Utah were just explained away by the government as Mormons.
I remember thinking it was a really novel and interesting new approach to zombies I had come up with and I was quite happy with myself. The Last of Us would come out two years later in 2013 with cordyceps zombies, and I recall thinking "I beat you guys to it, for whatever that's worth!" I am sure I wasn't really the first one to do it, but I'll just keep telling myself I am.
Here is a video of me announcing the release of AROAL and reading select passages, from back when I looked like I was made of pipe cleaners.
The real tragedy is that I attempted to revive this project in 2020-21. My goal was to completely rewrite the thing as an adult while maintaining the bad original storyline, which would have resulted in a sort of disjointed, bizarre, Frankensteinian project that was written by two different versions of me. It was outlined by a pre-teen with a poor grasp of comedy and story structure, and was to be rewritten by an adult with a much better grasp of both as well as significantly improved skills as a writer in general.
I managed to rewrite about half of the book (200ish pages?) in this style and it went very, very well and lead to some of the best writing I have ever done. To my surprise, the experiment was paying off. I had to get very creative in writing my way out of the litany of plot-holes and anachronisms I had originally sloppily included, which was very fun and rewarding and made for rather unique and compelling story arcs that wouldn't have otherwise existed. Sloppy throwaway mentions of security cameras in a casino suddenly required me to meticulously research the history of CCTV and gambling legalization in Nevada just to justify their inclusion. I was extremely proud of it and was eager to complete it and to publish it as the 10th Anniversary Edition. I even made an updated cover.
However, I stepped aside to work on another project for a while and in that time the master file got deleted in some way I still don't quite understand. I just don't know how it happened. I suppose I started writing offline at some point and never transferred that file to my Google Drive. Much of it was lost. I still have a lightly revised version but it isn't the one I really dove deep on. This is an embarrassing oversight that I allowed this to happen and I am still very upset with myself.
It really took the wind out of my sails. I have contemplated revisiting AROAL for a third time, because I hoped the rewrite could also give way to a much more sophisticated sequel written entirely by me as an adult from start to finish, ala Twain's pivot from the young adult style of Tom Sawyer to the more advanced style of Huck Finn. The motivation is hard to find, though.
I found a PDF of the first 50 pages of the rewrite which is currently all that remains of that version. It is included below: