"My name is Ernie Baxter, and my hands are tied. My history has passed to the memories and stories of my mother and ex-girlfriend. Bosses and co-workers. Bartenders and insurance agents. Friends and gym teachers."
The body of Ernie Baxter was just buried in the frozen earth of an Indiana winter, but Ernie’s story is far from over. From beyond the pale, this newcomer to the heavenly scene observes the folks left down below – notably, his mother and onetime girlfriend Kyra – grieving his unexpected death. Kyra’s husband Dain, a phony redneck with a trust-fund and a snowplow, wonders what the fuss is about.
At the request of Ernie’s mother, the reluctant Kyra – pregnant and at the peak of a mismatched marriage gone wrong – is charged with the dubious task of searching Ernie’s laptop computer for any information a mourning mother might want to keep. Inside that machine, Kyra discovers the private notes of an underground comedian named Ernie Baxter: bitter, detached, and seemingly unafraid of anything resembling the truth.
But no one had said anything about comedy, not even at the funeral. In her search for the real story behind the missing years Ernie spent away on the west coast, Kyra wades through stories of fast food for religion, rock and roll clichés, self-inflicted wounds for video game failures… and all the while, four people on a stage somewhere in Seattle try desperately not to piss themselves.
"You do things, say things, in hopes that you will remain intact, removed from speculation and locked safely away in memories, but it’s not to be. Memory, in fact, might be the greatest liar of all time. The most deceptive of sinners. The real face of death."
Original title: Stand up, Ernie Baxter: You're Dead
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction