The Morning Man

The Morning Man

by Robert R Randall


Publisher Robert R Randall

Published in Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

When John Divine first sees the seductive Hallie in 1962, she is doing The Twist, a hot, new dance just arriving in Atlanta. Before the night is done, the gifted, young radio personality is smitten, his tenuous marriage is over, and he is already hopelessly enmeshed in a relationship he senses will not end well.

By turns, dark, hilarious and chilling, The Morning Man chronicles the adventures of the legendary Divine, a Houston radio icon in the 1960s. It is a story of sexual obsession and betrayal, of alcoholism and insanity, of a talented young man on the brink of self destruction.

Sample Chapter

It was a dismal morning, even for February—dark, drizzly and bitterly cold. An icy wind whistled across the lake and through the skeletal hill-country trees. I paused at the open door of the van, wondering if the dramatic change in the weather could be some kind of omen: the day before had been like spring.

The other passengers were already seated, waiting patiently for me to board. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the big black dog on the gate attendant’s leash began to growl and bark—apparently at me. I shuddered and climbed up into the van feeling somehow like a criminal.

They had, predictably, not wanted me to leave, had all but demanded that I stay for the whole “treatment.” But soon after my arrival, I had begun to suspect that my choice of the Hill Country Clinic was a huge mistake.

Administered by a psychologist and ex-drunk named Horowitz, the small facility (maybe 40 beds) was designed to provide therapy for alcoholics, drug addicts and others suffering from what were called “minor emotional disorders.” (Were they joking? Some of these people were complete fruitcakes! There was one man who talked to himself non-stop; another who ate what he picked from his nose; several had a history of suicide attempts. For christ sake, who qualified as having a serious disorder, ax-murderers?)

The problem, as I saw it, was that everyone seemed to get the same treatment: A daily regimen of exercise, yoga, craftwork and a vicious kind of group therapy described by Horowitz as “confrontational.” Three days into this bizarre routine—when the worst of the shakes and depression had waned—I realized the Clinic was not for me. My heart sank. This whole approach was nonsense. I felt trapped, and I wanted out.

“John, what brought you here to the clinic?” It was Horowitz. Swarthy, slim and seriously sober, he peered over the top of dark horn rims in a way that seemed slightly affected (not unlike Jose Ferrer, I mused, in Doctor Zhivago). We were seated in his surprisingly modest office, a small room with one large window, sparsely furnished and cluttered with books. I had come to tell Horowitz I was leaving. His question, I thought, was designed to put me on the defensive.

“Depression, mostly and, okay, booze,” I said. “Look, we’ve been through all this before. Last week...well, it all just got the best of me. I...needed help.”

Horowitz said nothing, just kept staring at me in what seemed to me a slightly superior manner. After a few moments I got the message: Figure it out, Johnny-boy. Nothing has changed, you still have a problem. If you leave here now, how will you handle it?

I had no idea, so I looked out the window. It was a gorgeous morning, a Colorado morning—so astonishingly clear and cool and dry, I felt I could almost taste it. How wonderful it would be, I thought, to live in this beautiful spot year-round, tucked away in some cozy cabin, living somehow off the land, surrounded by flowery meadows, winding streams and glorious hillside greenery.

A picture began to emerge. In this vision, I was burning leaves in the backyard

of a rustic little bungalow. Hallie stood on the back porch smiling in my direction. We had left the big city and all its distractions and were truly happy now. We were so much in love and would always be. Here in the Texas hill country, we had finally found peace. (“In a mountain greenery, where God paints the scenery, just two crazy people together...”)

“And, now?” Horowitz interrupted.

“I beg your pardon?”

“A few days ago, you said you needed help. How are things any different now?”

“I’m sure I still need something or other,” I heard myself say, “I just don’t think this is it.”

“John, you recognized you had a problem you couldn’t handle by yourself. So, you asked for help. That was smart. Lots of people never do that. Then, you made a commitment—a commitment to accept that help. In this case, to spend 28 days with us here in the clinic. It’s been three days. Is that a fair trial?”

I had no reasonable answer, so I said nothing.


Excerpted from "The Morning Man" by Robert R Randall. Copyright © 2017 by Robert R Randall. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Robert R Randall

Robert R Randall

A former itinerant radio and TV personality, Robert R Randall is a graduate of Lamar University and has an M.S. in mass communications from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. He is the author of The Morning Man, The Great Pretender, Confessions of a Semi-Incorrigible Southern Catholic Boy and The Healing Power of Connection. He lives in San Antonio.

View full Profile of Robert R Randall

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