Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023


Excerpt No. 47 from Mike Maddock’s novel available now on Amazon


Editor’s Note: We are pleased to publish Mike Maddock’s novel, Sunnybrook, in its entirety as a “50 Something” weekly series for 2021. All published excerpts will also be available on our website,

Chapter 11 (Cont’d)

“Hold on, Little Buddy! I’m trying!”

Joey continued to dance and exhale furiously, but to David’s amazement, he almost seemed to be waiting patiently. When David finally unlocked the door and freed his son, Joey never cried or complained, even after the nail fell off his swollen purple thumb two weeks later. Joey just used it to gross out his friends.

David thought back and could only find one time when Joey cried. It was when he and Chris had gotten in a fight. Neither had won and both came home crying in shock they had actually come to blows.

David loved his son. He loved his toughness, his independence. David loved that his son sincerely appreciated the home and the neighborhood he had provided for him, and that Joey had embraced it with every fiber of his being. David hated himself for messing all that up. He couldn’t hold back the tear that trickled down his cheek as he drove the streets of the neighborhood looking for a collie to tell him where his son was.

Thirty minutes later, after circling through the entire neighborhood three times, David had found no sign of JJ or Joey. When he pulled in the driveway, Chris, Ryan, and Eric were playing tennis in the street.

“Did you find him?” Chris asked.

“No, guys. I don’t know where he is. He’s been gone a while now.”

Chris had never seen Mr. Moore look like this before. The only Mr. Moore he had seen was the coolest dad in the neighborhood who celebrated like a kid when he’d throw a touchdown pass to one of them. It made him concentrate, and that got Ryan’s attention.

“Look, smoke’s coming off his head!”

“Shut up! I’m trying to concentrate.”

“It looks like you’re taking a dump.”

Suddenly Chris’s eyes grew wide and he bounced on the pavement as Joey’s location shot through his mind.

“I think I know where he is.”

“Mr. Moore, we have to go to the Dirt Hills,” Chris said.

“I’ve already been there…four times.”

“Yeah, well, you haven’t been behind them. I think I know where Joey might be.”

“Nooo!” Ryan said half asking and half in shock.

“What?” Eric asked. “Where is he?”

“I thought he was upset, not horny!” Ryan said.

“What? What are you talking about?” Eric asked getting frustrated.

“Come on, Mr. Moore! Follow us.”

Mary Katherine walked outside to see the boys and David. David could see the pain in her face. “It’s okay. They think they know where he is. We’ll be right back.”

Chris and Ryan quietly led David to the Dirt Hills. Eric followed behind growing more impatient with all the secrecy. They walked David to the edge of the woods and showed him the hill that still showed signs of Ryan’s slide.

“Oh, no! I’m not going down there!” Eric said. “Y’all are crazy.”

Chris and Ryan ignored Eric and eased there way down the hill. David followed. They wasted little time leading David to the big rock overlooking the cliff and disappearing from Eric’s view.

“Oh, man!” Eric said pacing back and forth at the top of the hill. “Y’all are crazy!” His voice echoed in the woods.

Chris and Ryan ignored Eric’s cries and brought David to the rock. They stood on it with him for a second.

“Ok, boys. Where is he?”

Chris pointed down to two dirty Nikes and a collie’s lower half sticking out from under the rock.


Chris showed David how to get to him, and he and Ryan waited on the rock.

Joey was sitting quietly rubbing JJ’s head, which was resting on his lap. JJ wagged his tail slightly at the sight of David but stayed put.

The relief in finding Joey was quickly removed by the thought of the conversation that was to follow. David was also distracted by the piles of nudie magazines and the other conversation those magazines might force him to have with Joey. But there was already enough on the agenda, and he was pretty sure Joey had already learned everything he needed to know about the opposite sex on the playgrounds at school many years ago. So instead, David did his best to lighten the mood.

“So the legend is true. You found the pile of Playboys?”

Copyright © 2020 Mike Maddock

Next week: David begins the dreaded talk.

Click here or visit our office at 723 Queen Street to get your copy of Sunnybrook!

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