Poor Tom

Poor Julius Dickman! He has a boatload of issues, many worries and concerns. His live-with girlfriend, Naomi, regularly tongue-lashes him. He has a bad stutter and claustrophobia that often leads to uncomfortable panic attacks. He has chronic insomnia, in which he pops awake and immediately starts worrying and ruminating. He has no real profession. And now his widowed father, Herbert, the renowned classical actor, has retired from his long theater career after playing King Lear, the big role he waited all his life to do, and is behaving very strangely. Julius wants to help, to be as good a son to Herbert as Edgar, in disguise as Poor Tom, was to his father in Lear. And he’d like, too, to be a good father-figure to poor Benji, Naomi’s put-upon twelve-year old son, if he can. Julius aspires to be a mensch. But how?

Available in print and ePub at HenschelHaus Publishing.

poor tom

About Martin

Marty Drapkin is the author of four books of fiction, including his latest novel, Poor Tom. The others include Now and at the Hour, Ten Nobodies (and their somebodies) and The Cat Tender. He is also the author of many articles and two books about aspects of county jail operations, including Management and Supervision of Jail Inmates with Mental Disorders, published by Civic Research Institute. Before retirement in 2012, he was the coordinator of the statewide program for training of county jail officers, working for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. More…

Reprints Coming 2023

ten nobodies

Ten Nobodies
(and their somebodies)

A creative romp through history featuring ten narratives by fictional “nobodies” who were employed by or otherwise served famous people—the “somebodies” of the title. The somebodies include William Shakespeare; Anne Bonny, the fierce bisexual pirate; Davy Crockett; General George Armstrong Custer; Lewis Carroll; President William Howard Taft; Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas; Marilyn Monroe; Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi; and Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky.

The Cat Tender

Maggie Mullen is a hefty, fiercely independent 27-year-old woman who has built a quiet, simple life for herself that revolves around her cat-tending business, the time she spends each evening in her oversized claw-foot bathtub with her own faithful feline Lucy nearby, and her enduring love for Frank Sinatra. But her life becomes more complicated when she’s asked to be maid of honor at her younger sister’s wedding—a prospect that she dreads. Maggie’s strong opinions and flights of fancy help her get through her ordeal.

Now and at the Hour

Billy Malsavage is a young aide at a state institution for developmentally disabled people. Among the “residents” in his assigned group are Buddy, a 54-year-old man with severe cerebral palsy who longs to leave his useless body and ascend to heaven; and Ricky, a twelve-year old boy who lived a normal life until a football accident left him unable to walk or talk or take care of himself. Billy has his own difficult issues and demons, but he comes to care very much for Buddy and Ricky. This is a story about three isolated people who struggle to connect with others and to find some meaning, and maybe even salvation, in their sad lives.