Bernie Schallehn

Parkie

All is well in the life of nerdy, upper-middle-class accountant Gilbert Dart until he catches his wife in flagrante delicto with their gym rat neighbor. Shattered, Gilbert instructs his lawyer to give his spouse everything…as everything reminds him of the life he once had—the Mikasa, the McMansion, and the adulterous Melissa.
    
He moves out and takes up residence in an extended stay motel.
    
He pours his heart out to his boss, revealing intimate details of his wife’s dalliance, believing he can trust the man. But his employer shares the info with Gilbert’s co-workers. Upon discovering this information, Gilbert, furious, decks his gossipy superior with one punch.
    
Now he’s lost his marriage and his job.
    
In the unemployment line, he meets an attractive blonde, one Ms. Ardella Dansereau. Upon hearing that Gilbert is looking for more permanent housing, she informs him that there are openings where she resides, a place called Alpine Acres. In Gilbert’s mind he conjures images of tall pines, mighty mountains, and fresh, country air. In his classic BMW—the only item he didn’t let Melissa have—he follows Ardella’s old station wagon to check the place out. After a short ride, they arrive at their destination.
    
It’s a trailer park.
    
Gilbert is one breath short of an anxiety attack and Ardella instantly reads his reaction.
    
“You think you’re better than us…better than me,” she challenges him. He denies it—partly because of the awkwardness of the moment, partly because he’s desperate to belong somewhere, and partly because he wouldn’t mind hooking up with this tall blonde.
    
He signs papers to rent on a month-to-month basis. Within a few hours of being on the premises, he realizes that the park functions with its own off-dead-center reality.
    
Colorful parades are held for no particular reason; the on-site convenience store sells illegal items—Cuban cigars, over-proofed rum, fireworks, Dexedrine. And when a park resident who fancies himself a pirate passes away, the others give him his requested burial at sea…sinking him and his mobile home in the pond behind the park.
    
There is deep compassion and a loving bond among the residents of Alpine Acres. A romantic relationship does bloom between Ardella and Gilbert. The place grows on him, but Ardella continually questions whether he truly belongs…with her and as a permanent resident. There’s a critical piece of belonging that Gilbert appears to be incapable of hearing.
    
However, Gilbert continues to carve out a life for himself there with Ardella…until his cheating spouse Melissa tracks him down and begs for a chance at reconciliation.
    
Will Gilbert acquiesce to Melissa’s pleas? Or will he stay at Alpine Acres and struggle to finally hear what is so essential to belong to the park and Ardella?
    
Guaranteed to delight and enlighten the reader, Parkie is peppered with colorful characters, outrageous events and activities, and a wholly unexpected and satisfying conclusion.

Selected Works

Fiction
The saga of a septic tank cleaner desperate to hit big in country music.
The life and times of a female traveling hypnotist in the late 1880s.
A nerdy accountant winds up in a bizarre, but oddly idyllic trailer park.
A dark, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama involving two brothers.
Self-help
Mind Matters assists the drummer in conquering mental and emotional obstacles inherent to the art.

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