Mystery & Crime

Don of the Q: An American Don Quixote for the Atomic Age

By

This book will launch on Aug 26, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Loved it! 😍

Fear not citizens of Huntsville, Alabama - a latter day Don Quixote patrols the streets to protect you from drugs, crime and atomic bombs.

Synopsis

Don of the Q is a dark, liberal social satire about an innocent young man taking on a very dark America.

Don is a clerk in the Quick Stop convenience store with a problem: he suddenly can’t remember his past or what he’s doing here. He thinks maybe he’s an angel sent on a mission. Don and fellow-clerk Sancha of the Q set out on a quest to do some good and find out why he’s here. Maybe it has something to do with the stolen atomic bomb in Don Q’s basement. Maybe.

"highly recommended as an original, involving read that pushes the boundaries of comedy, stormy relationships, and social commentary alike." - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews.

Wikipedia lists around 200 major adaptations of Cervantes’ epic novel, Don Quixote, in diverse media from books to film to theatre, not to mention a library’s worth of scholarly exegeses on the subject. Generations of readers across the globe have identified with the character of this deranged visionary standing tall against an uncaring society. Add another title to that list with Michael Guillebeau’s short, satiric novel, “Don of the Q.”


In the blink of an eye, Donald Tiberius Becker, Jr., a clerk at the Quick Mart (aka, the “Q”) convenience store in Huntsville, Alabama, forgets who he is. Bereft of identity and purpose, he takes it to heart when a preacher tells him “God wants you, brother,”  and thus concludes that he is an angel who must complete a worldly mission to enter into heaven.


When a wasted addict named Dulce shows up at the Q, Don conceives that she is a princess and that his mission is to return her to her castle. While Dulce rehabs in a vacant laundromat next to the Q, Don rechristens her as Dulcinea and dedicates his next mission to her. 


Meanwhile, a rogue far-right militia has pilfered an atomic bomb and deployed it at a secret location in Huntsville, and the clock is ticking to detonation. With the help of Sancha, Don’s street smart coworker, he puts on armor made of a hoodie stuffed with adult diapers, mounts a motor scooter which he calls his steed, and armed with a balance pole that he uses as a lance, goes tilting at miniature golf windmills. When the police ask him to explain himself, he says, “We are American knights in the new age of American chivalry.”


Although clearly derivative, “Don of the Q” is a fanciful fable that uses innocence, rather than irreverence, as a tool for satire. There’s nothing strident in Don’s idealism, even though he is utterly uncompromising. When Sancha doubts it’s possible for them to do any more good, Don gently scolds her:


“There’s still too much darkness out there, Sancha. So much darkness, and we just listen to stories about it and go tsk-tsk… We’ve become a nation of tsk-tskers. We hear a horrible story about someone, and we go tsk-tsk and walk away.”


Guillebeau writes with an understated sense of humor that adeptly counter balances an over the top plot. He broaches big ideas in bite size pieces, and, like Don, embraces the simplicity of dreamers and madmen. 

Reviewed by

Gregg Sapp is author of the “Holidazed” satires. The first three books are “Halloween from the Other Side,” “The Christmas Donut Revolution,” and “Upside Down Independence Day,” with “Murder by Valentine Candy” forthcoming. Previous books are "Dollarapalooza" and “Fresh News Straight from Heaven.”

Synopsis

Don of the Q is a dark, liberal social satire about an innocent young man taking on a very dark America.

Don is a clerk in the Quick Stop convenience store with a problem: he suddenly can’t remember his past or what he’s doing here. He thinks maybe he’s an angel sent on a mission. Don and fellow-clerk Sancha of the Q set out on a quest to do some good and find out why he’s here. Maybe it has something to do with the stolen atomic bomb in Don Q’s basement. Maybe.

"highly recommended as an original, involving read that pushes the boundaries of comedy, stormy relationships, and social commentary alike." - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews.

The world blinks and is gone. For a second of total darkness, it is as if nothing has ever existed for me before this moment.

I blink back, and the convenience store world slowly emerges: newborn lights, rows of cans stacked on convenience store shelves and a steel counter in front of me, all strange but somehow familiar. One blur steps forward, grows color, shape, and becomes a man in front of me.

The words come out of me without thought. “I don’t know what I’m doing here.”

He slams a six-pack of our cheapest beer on the counter between us.

“Very funny, asshole. You’re here to overcharge me. Same as yesterday.”

“Three dollars and thirty-four cents,” I say. Don’t know how I know this, but there it is.

Pointing, he says, “You’re supposed to use that.”

Where he’s pointing, a gray blur resolves itself into a cash register with the Quick Stop logo on it. At my back is a white, wooden lifeguard’s chair. It seems odd. Why would anyone want to sit there?

He leans across the counter, spitting in my face now. “Three goddamned dollars and thirty-four goddamn cents. You say you don’t know why you’re here, and I say I don’t know why I let you and your boss charge me so much for the essentials of life.” He is a big man, rough, dirty; used to getting in other people’s faces. “Much money as I’ve spent in here, this damned well ought to be free.”

Maybe this is my purpose here. “Take it, bro.” I smile, proud to add a momentary exchange of sunlight to the semi-darkness of the convenience store cave. I give him generosity; he will give me thanks. We will go on with our day brightened by a positive moment with a stranger who is now a friend. “With blessings.”

The store is in perpetual twilight, but the customer and I stand like two glowing beings under the counter light. I smile bigger. My kindness seems to perfect the charming image, and I’m sure this is why I’m here.

His stare turns to contempt. “Rip your boss off, boy? No goddamned loyalty anymore.” He reaches across me and takes a handful of Slim Jims. “Taking these, too.” At the door, he turns back and spits on the floor. “Goddamned foreigners.”

The doorbell tinkles like it must have when he came in. Maybe that’s what triggered my memory loss. Maybe not. I look around and the inside of the store snaps into clarity. Missing light bulbs, dark patches, dirty floors, and shelves of bright-colored products. I know the price of everything.

It’s all clear now, except why I’m here. Maybe I am a foreigner. But something’s going on here.



About the author

Michael Guillebeau’s book MAD Librarian (Madison Press, 2017) won the Foreword Reviews Gold Medal for Humor Book of the Year. Guillebeau has published six novels and over thirty short stories, including three in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. view profile

Published on July 17, 2020

50000 words

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Reviewed by

Enjoyed this review?

Get early access to fresh indie books and help decide on the bestselling stories of tomorrow. Create your free account today.

or

Or sign up with an email address

Create your account

Or sign up with your social account