Ahnwee Days is my new 74,000-word manuscript in search of a publisher. Are you a publisher or agent? Contact me!
Life is not going as planned for Sybil Voss. Growing up in a small town on the Great Plains, she had one goal: to get out as soon as she could. She succeeded, moving to New York after college and building a reasonably happy life. But now she’s back, the sole caregiver for her elderly father who suffers from “media-induced psychosis” and can only communicate through TV sitcoms.
But Sybil’s making the best of it, running her antique business, “New York ’Tiques,” serving as mayor (since no one else ran), and organizing a town festival, Ahnwee Days.
Problem is, things are not going well for her tiny town of Ahnwee. What was once a hopping little city with actual businesses and families is slowly becoming a ghost town. The remaining 200 residents have to put up with the insult of a lake so polluted that it glows in the dark, a wind turbine on the edge of town that occasionally golfs cars into the rough, and the ever-present smell of pig manure from the factory hog farm on the hill. How could it get worse?
It can and does. The pig farmer says that the land the town sits on is his, and he wants to expand his manure pond. At the same time, the local Indian tribe also claims to have papers for the land, and they want it for an RV park for their casino. That's not all: Green Systems Power, a wind turbine factory, wants the town’s land for parts storage, and they’ve bought a county commissioner to make it happen.
With her friends, a lonely widowed knitting store owner and a midget—sorry, little person—beef jerky king with anger management issues, Sybil is fighting back. As Sybil says, “Sure, Ahnwee is just an antique shop, yarn store, strip joint, and meth lab, but it’s OUR antique shop, yarn store, strip joint, and meth lab.”
Along the way we meet a mayor of a rival town with unclear motives, a nerdy strip club owner and his “girls,” and an existential — and suicidal — town pastor. Our heroes hold a town meeting and a press conference, and they appeal to the county board, all with the same result: humorously dismal failure. The only thing left to try is for Sybil to run for, and win, a seat on the county board. How can that fail?
Ahnwee Days is a laugh-out-loud satire about the value of community and how small towns across the country are struggling against forces far beyond their control, a story that can best be described as Garrison Keillor meets Chuck Palahniuk.