Sarvice–an excerpt from a novel I am working on.

An excerpt from Sarvice, a novel I am working on.

L Dub, as his brothers called him, was a big man with the soft muscles of a weight lifter gone to chubby. He dressed in a black leather jacket, black pants, a black beret and dark sunglasses—on TV he had seen Black Panthers in Oakland dressed that way. He strutted self-consciously and swayed side to side. Taps on his heels made a special cocky sound as he strummed down the street, singing to himself.

His swagger made up for not being athletic or book smart. It was profitable for both his pocketbook and his Id. Hippies in the Fillmore District were intimidated and willing to buy him off with free dope. Coupled with his size and swagger, the Black Panther fantasy got him by.

Dub had an almost childlike trust that lived beneath his swagger. He showed Junior a scar where he said a bullet went in his side. Junior pieced together from their conversations that L. Dub’s adolescent school days were spent in youth detention centers.

He told Junior that his mother moved to San Francisco from Mississippi in 1950 with three children and no husband. She worked hard to support them but more babies kept arriving with new boy friends, until she finally had her tubes tied. There was a swarm of kids in their basement apartment with no one to look after them during the day, while Momma Sparks was working two jobs. They stayed up late, smoked dope, drank beer, dropped pills and slept past noon. They only went to school to score some dope or take some kid’s lunch money. Momma was too worn out from work to do anything with them.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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1 Response to Sarvice–an excerpt from a novel I am working on.

  1. I am SO glad you are still working on this!

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