The Misadventures of Buddy Jones
Buddy Jones is a redneck baby boomer, from Middleberg MO, a fictitious hamlet south of St Louis. He’s an alcoholic, a liar, a misogynist and a bigot; and yes, he’s a Donald Trump supporter.
Buddy Jones is a character all right. He feels he is entitled to take anything he wants and do whatever it takes to get it.
Buddy sets out for Atlanta to visit his estranged daughter, April, whom he has not seen for twenty-five years. On his journey, he meets an African American exterminator, a Sikh waiter, a Mexican hotel clerk, and a big momma bus driver, but not the white America that he prefers. When he arrives in Atlanta, he finds out that April has married a black man, and there is a party that night to celebrate their union.
Buddy delivers a drunken speech and offends the audience with his racist jokes. He gets in a fight and suffers a cardiac arrest followed by a near-death experience. He becomes romantically involved with an ICU nurse who helps him through his illness.
There is hope that he has turned his life around, but the red stain is not that easily removed from Buddy’s red neck.
This wonderfully told story offers a good mix of humor, substance, and character development. A novel with cultural significance as well, no better character novel epitomizes the misadventures of Missouri over the past few decades than this one.
The Misadventures of Buddy Jones won an eLit award for humor and was presented at the Jewish Book Festival of St. Louis
“Buddy Jones lives in Middleberg, a fictional town in Missouri. He enjoys drinking and demolition derbies, and he likes to have a firearm nearby “at all times.” As he’s grown older, he’s developed numerous ailments, including a “mule-stubborn back, bad knees, and a clogged heart.” Still, he still has plenty of vigor when spouting his racist and misogynist viewpoints.
“After splitting up with his girlfriend, Penny, he heads to Atlanta to meet with his estranged adult daughter, April, whom he hasn’t seen since she was 8. He hitches a ride with Floyd Washington, an exterminator and Civil War aficionado who’s traveling to visit the grave of his great-great-grandfather Ebenezer Washington, a slave who later fought in the 44th United States Colored Infantry. Buddy narrates ruefully, “It made me uncomfortable to travel with a black man, but what choice did I have?”
“During his journey, Buddy learns firsthand about the prejudice that black Americans face on a daily basis, as when a white highway patrol officer pulls Floyd over for no apparent reason. But will Buddy’s new experiences alter his bigoted worldview?
“Margolis makes a point of highlighting his main character’s lack of education, as when Buddy remarks that he’s not “sofisticatered.” The author also doesn’t hold back when demonstrating the degree of his protagonist’s bigotry; for example, Buddy refers to a turban-wearing waiter as “Alibaba” and a “camel jockey,” and calls Hollywood movie actors “left-wing faggot[s].”
“Buddy is also revealed to be a staunch supporter of Donald Trump. Margolis offers a poisonous caricature of blue-collar, right-wing, white-American masculinity. Some readers may balk at this stereotype, while others will delight in its savagery. For the most part, the author is an observant and skilled satirist.”
Excerpt from The Misadventures of Buddy Jones
The night before we left, Penny and I had one of them humdinger arguments. It all centered around me bringing my gun. Last year someone broke into our trailer park and robbed some people. After that, I went out and purchased an AR-15 at one of those gun shows that’s real popular in the great state of Missouri. I hadn’t owned a gun since my felony conviction several years back, but I felt kind of good about having a firearm near me at all times.
I’m a big Second Amendment guy, always have been, and always will be. I mean we live in a dangerous part of the world. Not just with burglars, but I worry about foreign terrorists, and even worse, our own govermint coming to get me some day.
Anyway, I told Penny that I’d like to have some protection this time around, but she couldn’t see the need to bring a semiautomatic like that. Finally, after a lot of shouting and carrying on, mostly by Penny I might add, I left it at home.
I had to live in a vehicle with this woman for two days, and when I couldn’t get the cruise control to work, or the fuzz buster to operate properly, I needed to be on speaking terms with her. I’m sorry to say that this didn’t last for the whole trip, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not a booster of the government. Every day except Sunday, Uncle Sam delivers a crap-load of mail that you never need or want: coupons for half-off on Rice Krispies, or Raisin Bran, or tofu, catalogues for lawn
furniture and flower pots, and stuff from Victoria’s Secret. Okay, sometimes I look at the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, but not to buy anything that would look good on Penny. The models in there aren’t much older that twenty-one or two, and Penny’s pretty mature in the wrong places and even in the right places if you get my drift.
And then there’s all them bills with past due on them. I know to pay them, and I don’t need them reminding me. The only good thing that I get from Uncle Sam is the direct deposit of my Social Security payment into my bank account. Good old Bank of America has a branch on the main street of Middleberg, along with a saloon, a Walgreens, a grocery store, a restaurant, a laundromat, and a bunch of vacant buildings. Come to think of it, they left out one word in the bank title. It should be Bank of Rich America. I know they’re not for the little guy, but then again what bank is these days? Nope, no more George Baileys around, but then I ain’t never seen an angel neither.
At my age, technology has pretty much passed me by. Let me be honest. I don’t know a fuck about setting up a GPS location. All I know is it helps me get to where I’m going. I do have a cell phone to text and read emails--one of them cheap Korean models--but I’m pretty much lost if the thing freezes up, or crashes, or won’t take my password.
When I was a kid, you didn’t need a goddamned computer or fancy phone to entertain yourself. You could read the funnies or the sports page from a newspaper that was delivered by a paperboy pulling a rusted red wagon. And there were milkmen who brought milk to your doorstep. I don’t remember all those percentages like 2% or 1%.
And guess what? All us kids survived on regular goddamned cow’s milk.