Christmas Eve Remembered – a passage from the novel, ‘In The Sanctity of Revenge’

From the new novel, In The Sanctity of Revenge available now on Amazon:

Mrs. Kelly awoke Christmas Eve morning to WGN radio on her alarm clock. She shuffled to the kitchen and made a pot of coffee. Sitting alone at the kitchen table, she remembered Christmas Eves past. She could recall the children bouncing off the walls almost as soon as they got out of bed waiting for night to come so they could go back to bed and get up for Christmas morning. She remembered Harold getting up, grumbling his way through the morning’s first two cups of coffee and first three or four cigarettes. Then he’d announce to the kids that it was time to get dressed. The kids would immediately rush upstairs to their bedrooms and change out of their pajamas and into the day’s clothing.

Once dressed and back downstairs they would tug at Harold’s arm begging to head out to the stores for the day. It was their annual tradition. Harold thought it important to include the children in the shopping for their mother’s Christmas presents since it was they who benefitted most from her hard work and sacrifice.

He’d finish off his coffee and take a last drag from his cigarette, then he’d head off to the bedroom to get dressed in his cleanest white t-shirt and a pair of brown polyester pants for a day at the department stores. He’d take the kids to Sears and they would shop for dresses and slacks and scarfs for their mother. Mrs. Kelly didn’t know it, but Harold saved a few bucks a week all year long for her Christmas present. Whereas Jack shopped on Christmas Eve because he liked the fun of the spontaneity of it, Harold Kelly shopped on Christmas Eve because that was when he finally had saved enough money to give his wife a proper Christmas. Along with his yearlong savings, each child contributed a little from his/her allowance. Money that, upon their father’s orders, they were supposed to have been saving for their mother’s Christmas since August.

From there, they would take the bus to the Ideal Pastry bakery where they would buy their mother her favorite cookies and donuts, plus a cookie for each kid. After that, he’d take them to the Irish Imports Shop, where they would usually purchase a record of Irish songs like the ones Mrs. Kelly’s parents would sing when she was a child.

Her folks had both been born in Ireland and met here in the States. While little Irene was growing up, her parents would play songs from the homeland and dance around the front room of their one-bedroom apartment with their little girl. Mrs. Kelly didn’t know what happened to those records after her parents died, but every Christmas Harold would surprise her with a record album of the songs of her youth.

Harold was a stickler for tradition, and so, there was never an artificial tree in the Kelly residence, and there was no tree in the Kelly residence until Christmas Eve. So after the Irish Imports shop, it was straight to the C-Davis Truck Rental lot, where the trucks had been temporarily replaced by Christmas Trees, to choose the perfect tree for the Kelly family Christmas. Mrs. Kelly often wondered if it was truly tradition motivating her husband to shop for trees on Christmas Eve or if it was the fact that he could haggle the salesman down so easily at such a late date. The pickings were scarcer, but you couldn’t beat the price and he always managed to bring home a tree that, once decorated at least, would be brilliant.

She smiled a bitter-sweet smile as she conjured up the vision of her husband dragging a six foot tall Christmas tree onto a city bus with children in tow dragging shopping bags from Sears and the Irish Imports, bumping into other riders, needles flying and falling off the tree throughout the bus, bags and packages bumping against knees and seats. It was no wonder she never got a porcelain tea set or Waterford crystal for Christmas, it never would’ve survived the journey.

Once home, the children would run the shopping bags up to their rooms where they’d wrap them while Harold took the tree and a hacksaw to the yard and sawed off the bottom few inches. She could see him in her mind’s eye out there in the dark snowy yard in his work boots, polyester pants and plaid winter coat sawing off those few inches of tree trunk so that the fresh cut could soak up enough water to make the tree last until the Feast of the Epiphany when it would finally be taken down and the Christmas Season would officially end.

Next came the annual hour of Harold lighting the tree, mumbling words not appropriate for such a sacred Holiday, as he fought with tangles and burned out bulbs and flashing strands that had never flashed before.

Then, with the tree firmly placed in its stand and fully lit, Harold sipping from a fresh brewed cup of coffee (with a three count splash of Jameson), and enjoying a well-earned cigarette after a long day of children, store-clerks, crowds, tree salesmen, and those goddamn Christmas lights. Then Mother was presented with one record from the Irish Imports (the others to be saved for the morning). The sounds of the Emerald Isle would play on the phonograph as the children decorated the tree with the family ornaments Mrs. Kelly had brought up from the basement while they were out shopping.

With the kids in bed, the stockings stuffed, and the presents beneath the tree, Harold and Irene Kelly would slip off to bed where it was time for another Christmas Eve tradition. Both of them bursting with love – love for their family, love for their blessings, love for their Savior, and love for each other – they would nestle in beneath the covers, legs rubbing the other’s to produce some warmth, arms wrapped around the other, bodies pressed together, they would embrace and envelope each other in a physical love that only years of marriage can invoke. That well practiced tradition complete, they would both settle in to drift off into a solid slumber.

In The Sanctity of Revenge can be purchased at Amazon.  If you buy a paperback, you get a free Kindle version.

http://www.amazon.com/Sanctity-Revenge-Brian-Schnoor/dp/0986297410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418233642&sr=8-1&keywords=brian+schnoor

Available world wide on Amazon:

United Kingdom-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sanctity-Revenge-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774369&sr=8-1&keywords=In+the+sanctity+of+revenge

Brazil —

http://www.amazon.com.br/Sanctity-Revenge-English-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774530&sr=8-1&keywords=brian+schnoor

Austrailia –

http://www.amazon.com.au/Sanctity-Revenge-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774619&sr=8-1&keywords=In+the+sanctity+of+revenge

France –

http://www.amazon.fr/Sanctity-Revenge-English-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774686&sr=8-1&keywords=brian+schnoor

A LITTLE SEX, A LITTLE VIOLENCE, AND A LOT OF SWEARING

I was sitting in a hot tub about two years ago. I did this in lieu of a workout. I sat with the water bubbling all around me, a jet hitting the soreness near my tailbone. I watched women walk by in bikinis. I watched fat guys limp past in baggy trunks and thought maybe I should’ve worked out after all. Then, without notice, I slipped deeper into my mind and wandered around in those dark corridors for a while.

It’s strange how the mind does that. One moment you’re right here in a loud hot tub at the health club fully aware of everything going on around you, and the next you’re oblivious to the outside world and lost in meandering thoughts you didn’t even know you had.

Well my mind meandered, down one hallway and up the next, then in circles and winding pathways. The economy was in the tank. I had, a few years before, watched most of my friends lose their jobs. I’d seen a gigantic corporation lie to its employees about their job security and then three months later yank the carpet out from beneath their feet. I understand business is business, but my father taught me a long time ago that “there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing something, and that asshole did it the wrong way.” Such was the story of that workplace scenario.

On the news, there was story after story about businesses shutting down. Some with notice to their employees, others with no notice and no intention to cut those final checks for work already done. I heard horror stories from friends about how simply shifting some paperwork and new filings rearranged long-standing companies so employees lost benefits and seniority. It was happening everywhere. In every industry, nationwide, stories of this sort were coming out. Add to that the fact that even responsible people were losing their homes to foreclosure and retirement accounts were slashed almost overnight, it was frightening.

“What happens,” I thought, “when you take and take from someone, mess with his livelihood and life to the point that he has nothing left to lose? That’s probably where all these ‘going postal’ stories come from. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of that given the events of the past few years.” Of course, anyone with something to lose, be it freedom, spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, a reputation they value, wouldn’t go to that extreme. He might daydream about it, but would never actually seriously consider it because he has a lot to lose and it just isn’t worth it. “But,” I thought again, “what about those few who get pushed to the point that they have none of that, or worse, had all of that and lost it. Those are the ones who can go nuts!”

Then, for whatever reason, maybe a hot mom in a bikini walked past or a fat guy almost fell, but my mind snapped back to the world and shut the door on those darkened corridors. “Why am I still thinking about that stuff from so long ago?” I thought. “I need to shake that shit… but… I did pose some interesting questions. A curious scenario. Book fodder? You bet!” That night I drafted a rough outline of what would eventually become In The Sanctity of Revenge, my debut novel.

Yesterday, after two years of work and many drafts, I published it. I don’t know if it is any good, but I do know that it isn’t going to get any better than it is right now. I’m not going to get rich off of it, but I worked too hard for too long to save it to a hard drive and forget about it. So I put it out there, for the world to read, and that is scary.

Up until yesterday, if it really sucked, it was a private failure. Today, if it sucks, it is a public one. In this day and age, a stranger from Brazil or Pakistan can read my book and send me a message telling me how horrible it was and that I owe them hours they can never get back. Of course, the opposite is true too. If it’s good, I can relish in the accolades from around the world. In any event, I had to put it out there to live beyond my computer. Good or bad, it is there. I’m proud of it. Its value beyond me is up to each individual reader.

With Thanksgiving this week, I am anticipating the questions: what’s it about? Can my kids read it? It’s not a bunch of liberal bullshit is it? or I hope it isn’t one of those Bill O’Reilly type books and Is this a true story? Is the main character you?

To those questions I can best respond, it is politically neutral while still having something to say. There is a little sex, a little violence, and a lot of swearing… just like my real life, but that’s where the real ends. The rest is pure fiction.

Now Available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Sanctity-Revenge-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416928439&sr=8-1&keywords=in+the+sanctity+of+revenge&pebp=1416928441212

Now Available at Amazon

In The Sanctity of Revenge is available for just $2.99 now on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Sanctity-Revenge-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416928439&sr=8-1&keywords=in+the+sanctity+of+revenge&pebp=1416928441212

Paperback available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Sanctity-Revenge-Brian-Schnoor/dp/0986297410/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417203150&sr=8-2&keywords=In+The+Sanctity+of+Revenge

Here is the link to the trailer: http://youtu.be/t97mbRhRnzg

Available World-wide on Amazon:

United Kingdom-

Brazil –

http://www.amazon.com.br/Sanctity-Revenge-English-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774530&sr=8-1&keywords=brian+schnoor

Austrailia –

http://www.amazon.com.au/Sanctity-Revenge-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774619&sr=8-1&keywords=In+the+sanctity+of+revenge

France –

http://www.amazon.fr/Sanctity-Revenge-English-Brian-Schnoor-ebook/dp/B00Q41PODW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774686&sr=8-1&keywords=brian+schnoor