TITLE: Woe to the Tyro
GENRE: Urban Adventure
After his alcoholic mother dies, sheltered teenager Leroy Smiley is left reeling… by how little he feels.
His numbness comes to an abrupt end, however, when a blurry image of a forgotten family friend forms in his mind. Desperately seizing his unlikely chance at the one thing he's ever wanted - a normal life - Leroy ditches his new foster home to find the caring woman from his past. With little more than a few hazy memories, though, it'll take more than desperation to find her. He hops a train to Folsom City Prison to learn more from his father, and winds up on a journey that takes him further than he'd ever imagined, as he experiences the harsh indifference of the real world for the first time.
Leroy Smiley stood beside his mother’s casket, trying to feel something. Before him lay Adalynne Smiley. Adalynne Bradley, if she’d had her way. Of course, to have her way would’ve required time and effort, so she’d remained a Smiley until the end. Didn’t he know it.
Leroy peered down, more staring through her than at her. This was the woman who had birthed him, bathed him, and clothed him, the woman who’d provided for him, or had at least tried to play it off as such. The woman who had made him who he was. Perhaps that was the problem.
The chemical fumes adrift in the funeral home air invaded his mouth after conquering his nose. The place looked as sanitized as it smelled. Shades of white and grey smothered the walls and ceiling, the monochromatic monotony broken only by the cheap cherry-stained wood of Ada’s casket. It felt unnaturally smooth as Leroy grazed his fingers along it, looking down at his mother nestled inside the padded box. The mortician had bought her a dress suit with a billowy blue blouse. Ada always said brown was her color, but they couldn’t know that. Layers of makeup, unable to match her hazelnut skin tone, gave her face a muddy complexion. Still, he mused, she looked better groomed currently than at any point in her forty-eight years of life. At least the years he’d been around.
He knew he should feel something toward, about, for her. For himself.