Black Flies In The Backyard With Snowshoes
Kevin Brian Carroll
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In 1980, Alan Cancelino had gathered together a metric ton of darkroom photo recovery silver when the price went to fifty bucks an ounce. That's right. A metric ton. He sold it, quit the photo business, and put a blues band together. Then he launched a legendary music and cocaine bender that had thousands of people inking a visit to his Adirondack funhouse above getting into Heaven at the top of their bucket list and the DEA cursing his name for half a decade.
In the end the law tossed Al to the federal system for 8-24, but not before he spent his 1989 summer months with beach sun and fun while on the lam, and not before one of the DEA's contract snitches got his overblown memoir published, touting Alan as a prize takedown with deep ties to the NYC mob. When that piece of crap hit the federal penal system library, it earned him instant celebrity status within the walls of every pen that awaited him.
"Cons love true-crime novels," says Al, as if that was explanation enough. Truth is, it could've only happened in Al's world. Hell, even the mob smiled and waved him through, as the rest of the prison rank and file fawned all over him with comps and space. It wasn't his fault, and besides, Al's a likable guy. All in all, not the worst way to do a stretch. Not by a long shot.
Eight years later, he emerged whole, refreshed, with supper waiting for him on the table, and full of more incredible stories than anyone. Anyone that ain't lying, that is. If you're a slow luck, out of work, Internet micro-fiction showboat, who's looking to swing into the world of for-real published books, and this guy's been your friend for 30 years, what do you do? You freestyle 276 pages about the drama of writing up those years of his for public consumption, and you cut him in for 50% of the take. After all, Alan's obviously got all the luck, and while 50/50 with him isn't a sure thing, there are worse plans being hatched out there.
Black Flies In The Backyard With Snowshoes is the true story of a late bloomer who tosses the Hail Mary pass of a lifetime, teaching himself how to write his old pal's incredible adventure as a real time memoir about writing the damn thing. It's an irreverent buddy-film romp, with the whole adventure sieved through two very different 1st hand perspectives.
So, does this breaking-into-the-world-of-writing-books-for-money plan work? If someone ever buys the damn thing from a real store, then yeah, it worked.