Road Kill (Kinky Friedman Series #10)

Road Kill (Kinky Friedman Series #10)

by Kinky Friedman

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Overview

Who would slap an Indian curse on a good ol' boy like country singer Willie Nelson? Probably the same person who's been firing shots into Willie's hotel room and sending nasty notes promising the cowboy crooner a one-way ticket to the big rodeo in the sky. Could it have something to do with the medicine man who got run over by Willie's tour bus one dark night? If anyone can find out, it's ace troubleshooter and well-known troublemaker Kinky Friedman—on the road again in his tenth wickedly funny, off-the-wall mystery caper.

Get Kinky on the Web: www.kinkyfriedman.com

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345416322
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1998
Series: Kinky Friedman Series , #10
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, cigar smoker, animal welfare activist, and would-be politician Kinky Friedman (b. 1944) is the author of more than 20 books, primarily detective novels set in New York City featuring a fictionalized crime-solving version of himself. He lives on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country with five dogs, a pet armadillo, and a typewriter.

Read an Excerpt

You could say the whole adventure began the day I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw the gypsy. That explanation might not hold up in a court of law, but as far as I'm concerned it's close enough for country dancing. I'd come in rather late the night before and as I slept I was visited by a strange and singularly vivid dream. Without going into graphic details, let me just say that I finally came across the girl in the peach-colored dress who was being held captive by a remote tribe deep in the jungles of Borneo. By disguising myself as a middle-aged orangutan, I was at last able to secure her release but not, however, before they took two Frisbees and used them to make her lips big.

By the time I woke up it was already late in the afternoon. Hell, I thought, if I'd been a banker I'd have been through for the day. Of course, if I'd been a banker I probably wouldn't have been living in a cold, drafty loft with a little black puppet head sitting wistfully on top of the refrigerator with the key to the building wedged in its mouth. If I'd been a banker I wouldn't wake up to garbage trucks grumbling bitterly outside my window. Or a lesbian dance class pounding away on the ceiling above. Or a cat performing tai-chi exercises upon my sleeping scrotum. On the positive side of the ledger, of course, was the fact that if I'd been a banker I probably wouldn't have been able to remember my dreams.

I leaped sideways out of bed, put on my purple Robert Louis Stevenson bathrobe, went into the kitchen, and located a wayward can of Southern Gourmet Dinner. As I opened the can, I glanced down at Vandam Street through the frost and the grime on the kitchen window. It was not clear precisely how much of this mucouslike obfuscation was on the outside or how much was on the inside of the window. As far as the outside went, you could probably blame most of the crap upon cars, people, pigeons, and God, none of whom have been known to be greatly concerned about the messes they've created on the outside of windows.

To be completely fair, it must be noted that incessant cigar smoking can occasionally lend a subtle, yellow-brownish, stained-glass-like appearance to the inside of windows. Whether this phenomenon manifests itself as Flemish or merely phlegmish is arguable. Beauty, as they say, is strictly in the eye of the beer holder.

I fed the cat the Southern Gourmet Dinner, opened diplomatic relations with the espresso machine, then bounded into the bathroom to go about my various morning ablutions. I climbed into the rainroom for my annual shower and as I washed the temple of my body, which, in some areas required the painstaking efforts of an archaeological dig, I began to sense a certain cleansing of the windows of my soul. It was time I got out of New York for a while, I figured.

My career as a country singer-turned-private-investigator appeared to be taking a turn for the worse. After a promising little string of successfully solved cases, for some unknown reason clients now seemed to be staying away in droves. Not only was my professional life moving along with all the fluid grace of a midtown traffic jam, but my personal life had slowed to a virtual standstill as well. My entire existence, I reflected as I washed my left armpit, was currently about as exciting as rich people watching bats.

I jumped out of the rainroom dried myself off with a colorful towel left over from a recent Hawaiian adventure, and segued smoothly over to the dump machine, where I donned my hydrogen mask and took a prodigious Nixon which I won't go into too graphically so as not to step on Chaucer's toes. It is enough to say that when I got off the dumper I felt better about cars, people, pigeons, and God, in, of course, a random and haphazard order.

Like any other post-Nixon morning, I got back inside my purple bathrobe and walked over to the sink. Like any other post-Nixon morning, I expected to cross the miles and miles of bathroom tiles only to stare into the silver distance of the bathroom mirror at those waving fields of emptiness that had become the country of my heart. Alas, this was not to be the case.

There, staring back at me, was a countenance very similar to my own, except that it appeared to be slightly more real and substantial than I felt at the moment. The face was almost mine but the eyes seemed different. They burned with the intensity of campfire embers, remembering everything I'd thought I'd forgotten. Nor was the figure wearing my purple bathrobe; he was swathed in a flaming tunic from a long-ago era. His hair was not a Hebrew natural like my own; he wore it long and dark and shiny and all wrapped up in a bright red sash. A silver earring hung from his left ear. Not like those commonly worn today by athletes, homosexuals, and teenagers, soon, perhaps, to hang themselves while masturbating and die from autoerotic death syndrome. This gypsy had been born with his earring, and it fairly gleamed with all the stolen mischief of dreams.

I blinked my eyes several times but the image in the bathroom mirror did not go away. They never really do. The bathroom mirror is the perfect place for you to one day see the gypsy in your soul.

"Who the fuck are you?" I said, in some dream state of mild hysteria. If you can talk to a cat, I figured, you can talk to a bathroom mirror.

"I am the gypsy in your soul," he said, "and I have come to tell you a little story that makes, I'm afraid, about as much sense as your life."

At that precise moment, I was pretty sure he was going to be right. Still I tried to preserve reality, to save sanity.

"Hold the weddin'," I said. "I don't even know your name. Do you have a card?"

"My name is Antonio," said the gypsy, "and this is my card."

Clearly in the bathroom mirror I could see him holding up the king of hearts.

"Start talkin'," I said.

"One dark, stormy night," the figure intoned, "a band of gypsies was gathered around the campfire. The leader stood up and said, Antonio tell us a tale, and Antonio stood up and said, one dark stormy night a band of gypsies was gathered round the campfire and the leader stood up and said, Antonio tell us a tale, and Antonio stood up and said, one dark stormy night a band of gypsies was gathered round the campfire — "

"I see the problem," I said. "Not only do I have a gypsy in the bathroom mirror, but he happens to be the most tedious gypsy in the world and he appears to be talking to me on an endless loop."

"Now you understand. Come away from there. Come travel the world with me. Leave your loft and your village and your friends and your cat and Stephanie DuPont — "

"How'd you know about Stephanie DuPont?"

The gypsy said nothing, but his eyes sparkled like Romanian stars.

I felt many things just then as, mesmerized, I gazed into the mirror. Fear, curiosity, disbelief, desire. When I finally spoke again it was to voice a sentiment that was not uncommon amongst many New Yorkers.

"But how can you travel so far away?" I said.

"From where?" said the gypsy.

Table of Contents

Interviews

On Wednesday, September 3rd, the barnesandnoble.com Live Events Auditorium was pleased to host Kinky Friedman, who discussed his latest mystery, ROAD KILL. This novel stars Kinky Friedman's alter ego, the ingenious private dick Kinky Friedman, along with his tokin' compadre Willie Nelson.



Moderator: Welcome, Kinky Friedman! Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to join us online this evening.

Kinky Friedman: Thanks for your horse-spitality. Pleasure to be here, I think.


Walter Jones from San Antonio, TX: How much different is ROAD KILL from your other books and why did you write yourself as a character?

Kinky Friedman: Some say ROAD KILL is a more mature novel because of my reverence for Willie. I say that my best book is always my next one. I put myself in it because I belong there.


Eric Jacobsen from Salt Lake City, Utah: Did the Texas Jewboys ever make any records, or were they (you) strictly a concert band? (ROAD KILL was terriffic, btw)

Kinky Friedman: We have a new CD project, it's a tribute album to the Kinkster, and will hopefully come out before I go to Jesus. It's called "Pearls in the Snow," songs that have been overlooked throughout the years. We're close to completing it and it features Willie Nelson singing "Ride 'em Jewboy" and Dwight Yoakam singing "Rapid City, South Dakota" and Lyle Lovett has just signed on with us. This happened just 2 days ago. We are approaching kd lang about "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed."


Iona from earth: How much liberty do you take in changing the characters that exist in your novel,but also really exist?

Kinky Friedman: I think there's a very thin line between fiction and nonfiction. And it's always what's written between the lines that becomes very important. So I get a sense of a person and pretty well know how he might think or act or talk and try to follow that along. It's a very childlike impression that I try to make.


Vivian from Englewood, CO: Greetings, Kinky. What would be some of the outstanding differences between Kinky Friedman the writer and Kinky Friedman the private detective, outside of profession?

Kinky Friedman: I think the difference between the two is getting less significant every day. As you'll notice, this is not a James Bond character. It just kind of me being alone and writing about the smoke of life as best I can.


Gorgeous Gal from Galveston, TX: Hello Kinky Friedman! Will you ever run for office again? Why, perchance, do you think your bid for Mayor of Kerrville fail? After all, 54 and 3/4 doesn't seem that bad. . . Thank you for taking my question.

Kinky Friedman: About losing the bid -- just lucky I guess. But politics' loss has been literature's gain. And most important, I'M NOT BITTER! I think I'll stay away from politics. I probably wouldn't touch politics with a bargepole, although I seem to get along with Bill Clinton and George Bush pretty well.


Omar from Merced, CA: Kinky Friedman the private detective seems to have an appropriate motto for every situation. What's the writer Kinky Friedman's main motto for living his life?

Kinky Friedman: "F*ck 'em and feed 'em Fruit Loops." Words to live by.


Jeffrey Kirsch from New York City: I saw Don Imus the other evening on Charlie Rose and I thought of you. What is your relationship with Mr. Imus?

Kinky Friedman: Homosexual. Latent homosexual. Willie Nelson and I will be on Charlie Rose on September 10th. We'll also be on Imus that morning, on the 10th.


Brian from Long Island: Just curious to find out what you think about the state of country music today. Do you think that this so-called New Country will surpass adult contemporary music in the popularity department? Can you believe Garth Brooks played in Central Park?

Kinky Friedman: You know I always refer to Garth Brooks as the anti-Hank. By the way, with the new CD, the one stipulation we had is that there will be no Tim McGraw on this CD. It will be sold only through the Imus show. As well as Willie Nelson and everyone I mentioned before, it also features Delbert McClinton and Lee Roy Parnell, Asleep at the Weel, The Geezinslaw Brothers and I very strongly believe it's going to have Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton on it. The problem we're having is that it's beginning to sound like the Gay Men's Choir. We need a few broads -- righteous broads.


Schuman from Chicago: Why did you choose to center ROAD KILL around Willie Nelson?

Kinky Friedman: I admire Willie's Zen Texan attitude toward life.


Barbara Saychek from Dayton, OH: So, has Willie Nelson read ROAD KILL yet? What was his response?

Kinky Friedman: That's what Imus is asking! The answer is yes. Of course you never know, because he's always smoking a joint the size of a large Kosher salami. Willie thinks the book is great, he has no problems with it. He thinks I'm one of the greatest whodunnit writer since Dashiell What's-His-Name. But what does he know?


Danius from Lexington, KY: Hey Kinky, I have been a fan of music for years now. I am just curious if you could compare writing lyrics for your songs versus writing text for your novels? Is it comparable at all? Keep writing (music or novels) because we keep reading...thanks!

Kinky Friedman: I think in my life the stage just began to bleed onto the page. I think writing good country music is the hardest thing in the world. I believe that mating the music to the lyrics is probably what killed Hank Williams and stunted Faron Young's growth.


Asterisk** from Seattle: Where do the quotes that open the section of ROAD KILL come from? My favorite is the Leon "Slim" Dodson quote. Hehehehe.

Kinky Friedman: That one comes from Slim, who was a kind of a dishwasher, the 40 years I knew him. I grew up with Slim at the ranch in Texas. I think it's a great quote too.


Thomas from New Mexico: Why did you decide to write mysteries? What is it about that genre that drew you to it?

Kinky Friedman: I guess I was trying to F*ck, suck or cajole a little comfort out of life. I found I've always enjoyed reading mysteries and I think a good mystery should provide some insights into human nature as well as being witty and full of flavor. Something to enjoy before you inevitably hang yourself from the shower rod.


Matt from Austin, TX: What are some of your favorite Texas hill country hangouts?

Kinky Friedman: OST Diner in Bandero. Del Norte Restaurant in Kerrville. Pampell's Drugstore in Kerrville. Other 'n that I stay in my room like Brian Wilson.


Pete from Syracuse, NY: Could there really be a place in this world where a lesbian dance class kicks up its heels at all hours of the day? You are awesome, Kinkster!

Kinky Friedman: Thank you Pete, you are a fine American. You can probably find that lesbian dance class right now at 99 Vandam Street, fifth floor.


Lawrence from Hartford, CT: Does Willie Nelson have 97 ex-wives, really? Hell, I'd be stoned too if I had to deal with that...

Kinky Friedman: Willie says the good thing about having had so many wives is that every time he gets married, all his old lines are new again.


Lisa from Quakertown, PA: Your stories are great, but the stuff -- characters, sayings, situations -- you fill your books with never fails to have me in stitches. Where do you come up with all of that? Have you ever done stand-up?

Kinky Friedman: I was a stand-up tragedy once. You have to be very sad to be as funny as I am. Thanks, though. If I can reach one person out there, I think I'm a success.


Yeardley Stevenson from Richmond, VA: Who are some of your literary influences?

Kinky Friedman: Frederick Exley. Robert Louis Stevenson. Oscar Wilde. Anne Frank. Raymond Chandler. Emily Dickinson. Charles Bukowski. And Abbott and Costello. Everyone but Dean Koontz.


Ed from Knoxville, TN: Where did the title of the book ROAD KILL come from? I heard it was submitted by a fan of yours...True?

Kinky Friedman: Cosmically enough, it was called in from the Ritz Hotel in Paris to my humble trailer in Texas by Judith D. Allison.


Andy from Brooklyn: Could it be that I met Ratso at a party for volleyball-player Gabrielle Reece in New York City's Niketown about a month or two ago? Does he really exist and would he hang out among the tall and the Swooshful?

Kinky Friedman: If it was a party, it's very likely Ratso crashed it or insinuated himself into it. I'd say it sounds like Ratso and of course he exists. That's like asking if God exists.


Oscar from New Orleans: Mr. Kinky -- Could you please tell me about the camp that your dad runs in Texas. Did you help this summer?

Kinky Friedman: Well, I fed the hummingbirds, killed the fire ants and sang "Old Ben Lucas Had A Lot of Mucus" at a campfire. Otherwise, I spent most of the summer carrying on a conversation with my tie.


Arthur from Los Angeles: I received an early copy of ROAD KILL. Pretty handsome. I particularly like the photo of you and Willie Nelson on the back. My question: Is Willie smoking a doobie or a cigar?

Kinky Friedman: It is a rare instance that Willie is smoking a cigar. Most of the time Willie smokes the stuff that killed Elvis.


James from Ithaca: Since you're a writer who routinely releases one book a year, how long does it take you to put a book together? By the way, I'm about 3/4 of the way through ROAD KILL, and, of course, it's damn good.

Kinky Friedman: It doesn't take long if life doesn't get in the way. It helps to be an unemployed youth. It also helps to be alone, like Amelia Earhart, in the cockpit.


Carter from Wilmington, DE: I'm relatively new to the Kinky Friedman Fan Base, but I'm quite an enthusiastic member. Please excuse the question if it's too ridiculous, but how did you get your name? I look forward to reading ROAD KILL.

Kinky Friedman: Well, my full Christian name is Richard Kinky Big Dick Friedman. Kinky was given to me in college by Chinga Chaven, who went on to distinguish himself by writing "Proud to be an *sshole from El Paso."


Rory from Florida: Hey Kinky, I have two questions for you:
1)I am planning to write a book of commentaries very soon (I am already in the 8th grade and figured that December would be the perfect time to start). When I start writing this book, should I think of what commentaries I want to write? Do some research? What should I do?

2)How do you overcome writer's block?

Thanks a bunch!!!!

Kinky Friedman: 1) I think research is a crutch and usually a waste of time. The fact that writing has found you at your age is a very good sign already. Find your voice and follow your heart.

2) Just forget that there is anybody else in the world. Look inside yourself as you write. Pretty soon you will see everybody else. If you know someone who's gone to Jesus -- it can even be a dog or cat -- try writing a letter to that person. Don't write for all the idiots of the worlds; write a letter to a silent witness.


Matt from Austin, TX: What other authors do you like to read? What books have you read lately?

Kinky Friedman: I've read a great book, which is a legal thriller, called GUILT by John Lescroart, who I call John Lescrotum. It's really killer bee. I'm also reading, and I highly recommend it, STORIES OF HAWAII by Jack London. Did you know about "To Build A Fire"? Jack London wrote it on the beach in Hawaii.


Mercy from Margate, FL: Smoking habits. Do you have a favorite type of cigar? How do you get your Cubans? Why do you think those Cubans are so good?

Kinky Friedman: I always like to point out that I'm not supporting their economy, I'm burning their fields. I suspect I'm a homosexual and I just don't know it yet and that's why I smoke cigars all the time. The other possible theory is that we're all creatures of narrow habit and one of mine is smoking cigars so I can grow up to be like Ernie Kovacs.


Karl from Houston, TX: Are they making Jew like Jesus any more? What about carpenters who know what nails are for?

Kinky Friedman: Many Jews today seem to me to be kindred in nothing but name. I like Jewish troublemakers. Jesus Christ. Lenny Bruce. Abbie Hoffman.


Barley from Pittsburgh: So, when will you and Mr. Willie Nelson get together and sing "Cowboys are Secretly Fond of Each Other?" I love your stories, Kinky Friedman. Keep 'em comin'!

Kinky Friedman: It's "Cowboys are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other." I suspect it will happen on the Don Imus show on September 10th.


Chris Jacobs: What's next for Kinky Friedman?

Kinky Friedman: I'm sure it will be movies and television. There's a hell of a lot of interest right now from Hollywood. Francis Ford Coppola. Robert Altman. Barbara Streisand. Ellen Barkin. All interested in the rights to the books. The question is who's going to play Kinky. I see Meryl Streep.


Mary Lundy from Las Vegas: Hi. I loved ROAD KILL! I really did. Is Willie Nelson really such a spiritual person? Are you particularly religious?

Kinky Friedman: I'm not religious. I'm happy to say that Willie is who you always thought he was, and that's a very spiritual person. That's why I said he was a good little church worker. But of course, as Thomas Paine said, "The world is my country, to do good is my religion." It applies to Princess Diana as well.


Moderator: Thank you very much for joining us this evening! Any closing comments?

Kinky Friedman: (Burp) Pardon Me! God bless all of you. You are fine Americans. Don't forget to inhale deeply the smoke of life.


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Roadkill 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
shwetzel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Somebody's trying to kill Willie Nelson, and the Kinkster has to save him. Cigars and doobies are smoked, crimes are committed, and the good guys win in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun.
DETERMINED-D More than 1 year ago
This writer, by far, is one of the funniest that I have read in a very long time. Mr. Friedman has a very sharp wit, a caustic sense of humor and loves a good play on words."Road Kill" was a fantastic, fast-paced, lighthearted mystery with plenty of humor thrown in for good measure. The story takes place in New York, as well as Texas and, later, in Hawaii. Mr. Friedman, writing about himself as a P.I., looks at himself in the mirror one day, seeing a Gypsy staring back at him. The gypsy strongly suggests that he go on a trip with a friend to get out of New York City. That is just what he does. Oddly enough, he gets a call from his old pal, Willie Nelson, who asks him to come on the road with him for a while.Kinky leaves his cat with the two lesbian dancers upstairs. And away he goes... once on the road, in Willie's bus, the story unfolds and the plot thickens; only then do we find out why kinky is there, obviously to help solve a real mystery , perhaps, save Willie's life. I won't ruin the story for you, but I will say, that if you pick up this book and read it, you will not be disappointed. If you need a good laugh, read it today. Mr. Friedman writes in a style similar to Paul Levine, another fantastically funny, lighthearted, fast-paced mystery writer. Perhaps, one day, Mr. Friedman and Mr. Levine will consider a collaboration. So pick up this book, settle back, and get ready for a good laugh. Treat yourself today...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 1st ride on the Friedman bandwagon. I hope the next ride is just as good. Loads of laughs and tongue in cheek humor. Still looking for a puppet head for my refrigerator. (Too bad we live in such a screwed up world, the system wouldn't let me use Friedman's first name in this review)