Hap and Leonard is now a Sundance TV series starring James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Williams.
Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are in for an action-packed adventure when they cross paths with a towering Pentecostal preacher, a midget with a giant attitude, and a gang of bikers turned soldiers of fortune.
Even though a midlife crisis just hit Hap Collins like a runaway pickup truck, he's still got his job, he knows his best friend, Leonard Pine, will always be there for him, and of course he's got his main squeeze, Brett Sawyer. Things hit a new low, however, when Brett's daughter, Tillie, who has been walking on the wrong side of the law suddenly stands in need of a rescue. It's won't be easy—it never is—but nothing is going to stop Hap and Leonard as they hit the road destined for Hootie Hoot, Oklahoma to shake things up. And with Hap and Leonard at the wheel this promises to be a wild ride.
About the Author
Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over thirty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in eighteen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies.
Lansdale has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others.
A major motion picture based on Lansdale's crime thriller Cold in July was released in May 2014, starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down), and Don Johnson (Miami Vice). His novella Bubba Hotep was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. His story "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" was adapted to film for Showtime's "Masters of Horror." He is currently co-producing a TV series, "Hap and Leonard" for the Sundance Channel and films including The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton and Brad Wyman, and The Drive-In, with Greg Nicotero.
Lansdale is the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan: Martial Science and its affiliate, Shen Chuan Family System. He is a member of both the United States and International Martial Arts Halls of Fame. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife, dog, and two cats.
Read an Excerpt
By Joe R. Lansdale
Warner BooksCopyright © 1998 Joe R. Lansdale
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAn easy and convincing case could be made that my life has been short on successes, both financial and romantic, but no one could say with any conviction it has been uneventful.
In fact, of late, it had been so full of events, I concluded I had outlived my allotment of outlandish moments, and now the law of averages was on my side for pursuing a relatively tame existence. At least until old age set in and I took up residence in a cardboard box beneath the overpass on Highway 59, taking a dump behind a bush and licking secret sauce off old Big Mac wrappers for sustenance.
That was how I figured most of us baby boomers would finish the race. No Medicaid. No Medicare. No insurance. No couple of million stashed back for our dotage. Maybe not even the cardboard box. Hell, for that matter, we couldn't even be assured of a bush to shit behind.
My dotage was a ways off yet, but a lot nearer than I liked to think. Though I had days when I wished I wouldn't make that geriatric goal-end up in a cardboard box, stiff and rotting beneath an overpass with one of those Big Mac wrappers clutched in my fist-nor did I wish to gain the better scenario of passing on to the great beyond via a crisp white bed in a nursing home with a plate of mashed green peas on my dinner tray and a tube in my dick.
My best friend, Leonard Pine, always says the best way to go is lying in bed listening to a Patsy Cline song, or watching the last fifteen minutes of Championship Wrestling, which was funny enough to kill you.
None for me, though. Times like that, when I was blue and thinking of my exit, I wished to go out between the legs of some wild redhead while striving for a double on a cool winter night, her hot breath in my ear, her fingernails buried in my ass like tacks in a bulletin board.
It could happen.
Currently, I knew the wild redhead. She was my age, forties, her life full of her own unique events. Including setting fire to the head of an ex-husband and beaning his brainpan with the business end of a shovel. But even though she might worry me some when near matches or farm implements, going out between her legs was, as I said, not such a bad way to pass, so I tried to stay within her proximity as much as possible these days, lest I feel a bit of a murmur, a flashing of life's events before my eyes. I could only hope if such a dire situation arose, she would be in the mood and I could fight off the inevitable for whatever time was necessary for me to selfishly satisfy myself.
But redheads have drawbacks. They can be trouble and they can mess up your law of averages, even when they don't mean to, even when they aren't directly responsible. Trouble sticks to them like pork to a pig's ass, and if the trouble isn't on them, it's on someone close to them.
I know that sounds a little like astrology-the stuff about redheads, not pork-but then again, you been through what I been through, you might come to believe it. And even if I don't believe it in the long run, in the short run, well, I got to consider it.
For me all this got to rolling on a day when I was sorting my stuff in Leonard's barn, where it had been stored for the last few months.
Leonard had owned a house in town for some time now, and when a tornado took my place away, I moved into his old country place, and it wasn't so bad. Then he sold his house in town for pretty good money, had to move back to his country place, and now we were housemates.
Frankly, I felt put out. Even if it was his house. I went from sleeping in the bedroom to sleeping on the couch, and he made me clean up the place more than I liked.
We had roomed together before, for a short time, and it had been okay, but now I had gotten used to living alone again, and I was having a bad time of it. Worse yet, way things were going, I might be moving in with my nasty redhead any day. Brett had invited me, and I wanted to, but I was having so much trouble readjusting to Leonard, and I had known him for years, the idea of living with someone else was goddamn scary. I was suddenly concerned about skid marks in my underwear. Socks that didn't match. Farts, burps, and stink from the bathroom.
I wished my house hadn't blown away.
I wished I weren't so set in my ways.
I even wished I could find a good deal on a mobile home to move to the acreage where my house once stood. And if you knew how much I dislike mobile homes-those plyboard and aluminum tornado magnets in the pleasing shape of a shiny rectangle-you'd realize just how desperate I felt.
Then there was the other side of me. The one that always wanted a relationship. I didn't have a woman in my life, I was pouty and blue, and even watching the September lovebugs hump made me horny. Now I had met someone who had more to offer than just sex. Brains. Humor. A way with fire and shovels. Kind of a middle-aged man's dream, I suspect. And still, I hesitated.
Guess, when you come right down to it, you just can't make me happy.
Anyway, I was on my knees, sorting my stuff in Leonard's barn, which was essentially a gray, peeling, clapboard shell with a dirt floor. I had all my things in cardboard boxes, and I was trying to figure what I should keep and what I should get rid of. During the storm, a large part of my junk had been rained on, wind-blasted, and just generally screwed. Rats had been in it since, and some of the paper and cloth items had been chewed.
Over the last few months I'd been halfheartedly going through the stuff I'd gathered up after the storm. Going through it, not so much afraid of what I might find, but more afraid of what I might not find. Some part of my life gone.
The twister had knocked the largest part of my goods ass over tea kettle, blown them to hell, or maybe worse, all the way to New York City. Maybe up North some Yankee was looking at my books, wearing one of my shoes. Laughing at my photographs. My favorite pants might be in a tree somewhere. My record collection at the bottom of a lake. It was too goddamn depressing to contemplate.
I had just put a batch of ruined books in the trash box when Leonard came into the barn. He was wearing sweats and carrying two cups of coffee. He looked as if he was straight from the shower. His short kinky hair glistened and his face looked like buffed ebony. The sunlight shone brightly through the door behind him, and I could see steam rising up from the coffee, blending with the dust motes in the air. Leonard said, "You going to move in with her?"
I stood and brushed the dust off my hands. Leonard gave me a cup. "I don't know," I said, and sipped the coffee. It was good rich coffee with some kind of chocolate flavoring in it.
"You ought to."
"You trying to get rid of me?"
"Some. You're fuckin' up my house."
"Like it's anything special."
"Hey, it may be a shack, but it's better than your shack, which, I might point out, would be harder to put together than one of those thousand-piece landscape puzzles. If you had all the pieces."
"And the way you handle your domestic business, man, it's tiresome. Think I want to have your old smelly drawers hanging on my couch arms for doilies? Goddamn shoes in the middle of the floor, dirty old socks up under the chair. Hell, man, smells like someone's been wiping their ass and hidin' the paper somewhere."
"All right, then, your shoes are slightly off center of the middle of the floor. But I still trip over them. Now what about Brett? You movin' in with her, or not?"
"I've been burned so many times in love I'm not sure I want to go through it again."
"Yeah, but all your other relationships were stupid. This one isn't."
"She set her husband's head on fire, burned his car too."
"Don't forget she beaned him with a shovel and he's in a home somewhere trying to decide if blue socks go with a paper hat and a fart."
"Maybe she should have left the car alone, Hap, but way I see it, far as his head's concerned, sonofabitch had it comin'. Besides, she didn't burn his whole head up, just some of it. Guy beats a woman on a daily basis, and one day she's had enough, it's okay she sets the guy's head on fire."
"This coming from an arsonist."
"Don't bring that up. You're tryin' to change the subject. Law let me go, didn't they?"
"It was a miracle." And it was. Leonard had burned down three crack houses, and each time he'd managed to get off. 'Course, I helped burn down one of them, so I couldn't be too self-righteous.
"They let Brett go, didn't they?" Leonard said.
"The judge was a lecher. She was young then. She wore tight shorts and a halter top. I'm surprised they didn't throw her a parade and give her the key to the city. Way she looks now, back then, man, she must have been something."
"Being queer, it's hard for me to know what a good-lookin' woman's supposed to look like, but I figure Brett's it. She's got all her workin' parts, don't she?"
"You get along, don't you?"
"Yeah. She's funny. I like being around her. We seem to have something going besides dating and rutting, although I hasten to add I don't want to undervalue rutting."
"Then what's the holdup?"
"I just don't want to screw up again."
"Hap, that's what you do best. And if you ain't willin' to screw up, you ain't ever gonna get any of the good out of life either. That's the way of the world, according to Leonard Pine. And keep in mind I just went through somethin' worse, and I'm out here lookin' for love all over again. It's the way of our species."
"We're a stupid species."
"Yeah, but we're consistently stupid. So, you get what I'm sayin'?"
"You're as big a screwup as me?"
"No one is, Hap. But thing is, even though you fuck up more than most, everyone fucks up. Only difference with you is you think your fuckups matter more than anyone else's. Strangely enough, there's a kind of conceit in all that."
"I reckon you're right."
"Good. Why don't you tell her you're moving in?"
"Because I'm still not sure."
"You see her today, right?"
"She's expecting an answer, right?"
Excerpted from Rumble Tumble by Joe R. Lansdale Copyright © 1998 by Joe R. Lansdale. Excerpted by permission.
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