Sunday Snippet: Spillage by Michael Gross

Posted June 2, 2024 by Jen in Sunday Snippet Tags:

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Author: Michael Gross
Publisher: Raab & Co
Release Date: March 28, 2024
Genre: Adult fiction


Chapter 1, pages 1-2

book cover of: Spillage by Michael GrossEliot asks Joan to marry him.

“Oh, Eliot,” says Joan.  “You can’t be serious.”

“Dead serious.”

They’ve lived together eight years. On the same day they signed the lease on their East Village apartment, the Yankees were mathematically eliminated from the 1968 pennant race.  Joan and Eliot didn’t plan it that way. As a couple, they never planned much of anything, and besides, at the time they didn’t follow baseball.  Baseball followed them.  

The man who sold them their secondhand bed claimed that Lou Gehrig once slept in it on the way to Iron Man stardom.  The set of dishes they bought at the Salvation Army depicted Great Moments in World Series Play before the pictures got washed out.  Dugan Inc. manufactured the solid-state black-and-white television with the twelve-inch screen they bought; Admiral Dugan owns the Yankees.  And before they came across the large wooden cable spool left by the phone company at the corner of St. Mark’s Place and First Avenue (they live between First and Second), someone had scrawled on it: “Ya bums! Bring back the glory days!”  They brought it back to their third-floor walk-up and installed it amidst the books, records, comics, and art magazines scattered everywhere, between their semblance of a kitchen and their dual-purpose living room/bedroom, eating their meals while seated on straw mats when they didn’t eat them in bed. They spent a hell of a lot of time in bed. 

While season after season the fortunes of the Bronx Bombers steadily declined, along with the Bronx, along with all of New York, along with all of the nation’s cities, Joan and Eliot grew so close that in the twelve hours a night they clung to one another in sleep they even started to share the same dreams.  

This season though, while the 1976 Yankees have recaptured their former glory, Joan’s been plagued by nightmares in which she’s burned at the stake by the good people of Salem, Massachusetts. Crowds huddle together to watch, children shout, “She’s possessed by the Devil!” What’s worse, she half-believes in them, while dreaming and after. Eliot doesn’t. He thinks she’s watched too many afternoon horror flicks.  Meanwhile, he dreams that he’s Adlai Stevenson’s running mate. They keep running and losing, running and losing.

Joan has no intention of marrying Eliot. In fact, she’s felt so removed from her lover lately that she’s started to wonder whether it is time to truck out. Where would she truck to? She has no idea.

About the Book:

It’s 1976, and The Big Apple is in sorry shape. Besieged on all sides, the city has become a graffiti-coated, garbage-filled, crime-ridden cauldron, teetering on the edge of total collapse. Adding to New York’s towering woes, a revolutionary group called the Satanic Vanguard has kidnapped the mayor, set fire to Coney Island and threatened further mayhem. All that Gotham has to hope for are its resurgent Yankees, who’ve come back from the dead to reach the World Series by riding the arm of their rookie phenom Nick “The Swan” Spillage. But Satan and his Vanguard plan to snuff that hope out too, and they’ve targeted a young couple to help with their diabolical scheme.

The rock and roll-loving pair– Joan and Eliot —came of age in the late 1960s when the counterculture peaked. They’ve lived together in New York’s East Village for eight years, making sweet music on the subways while their beloved city crumbled around them. Then, in shades of the Faustian musical Damn Yankees, Joan develops an obsession with The Swan and makes a deal with the Devil to capture his heart. Meanwhile, Eliot wrestles with what it means to preserve his own soul as he makes a valiant effort to win her back and save the day.

Spillage is a wickedly fun throwback to a chaotic time. At its heart, the novel is a love story and a search for identity in a world that’s gone off the rails.

Purchase links:
Amazon link

About the Author:

Michael Gross began writing Spillage in 1976, while working as managing editor of Fiction magazine, teaching, and earning his MFA at New York’s City College. Gross holds a BA from Trinity College and an MBA from New York University and received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. In 1978, he embarked on a forty-five-year career in crisis communications, culminating in his serving as CEO of Finsbury (now FGS Global). He is married with three children and three grandchildren and divides his time between Brooklyn and Fire Island, New York. To learn more, please follow him on Facebook @michaeljongross and Instagram @michaeljongross.

Author website