Title: Catcher’s Keeper
Author: Johannah Davies Spero
Genre: Commercial Fiction / Alternate History Fiction
What if Holden Caulfield was around when John Lennon was shot?
In 1980 John Lennon was killed by Mark David Chapman, who believed he was Holden Caulfield, narrator of the classic The Catcher in the Rye. After the shooting, Chapman remained on the scene calmly reading the book, which he later offered to police as “his statement.” Catcher's Keeper asks the question, “What if Holden had met Chapman, learned of his plan, and tried to prevent the assassination?”
Johannah Davies Spero was born near a pristine lake in the Adirondacks and has lived in various cities such as St. Petersburg (Russia), Indianapolis, Dallas, and Boston. She has pursued her love of narrative through degrees in English literature, Russian language, and teaching—and has worked as an actress, a yoga instructor, a web design entrepreneur, a freelance writer, and a high school English teacher. She lives in the Northeast with her husband and three young sons.
There is a tour-wide giveaway for a signed paperback copy of the book. The giveaway is US/CA only.
It’s Monday. On our way to New York City. Not sure what Fiona has in store in the Big Apple. But it’s groovy to be on a train. Kiki’s beside me, laughing at all my jokes. Jerry and Fiona are having their own love fest a few rows in front of us. Fiona keeps squealing about baby stuff and Jerry’s full of phony comebacks. It’s like, since the trip to western Mass, they’re bosom buddies. Whatever.
Just a tad jittery to make an appearance in New York. I can count on my hand how many times I’ve checked it out since my big breakdown. That’s why I’m a comic on the train, to take my mind off it. Would be cool to put the book out of my mind too. What a downer. So I keep telling stupid jokes. “What do you call a camel with no humps?”
Kiki, primo audience, is already laughing. “I don’t know. What?”
Before I can say the punchline—bam!—the connecting door from the train car in front of us bursts open. Guess who walks in?
“No way!” I’m on my feet high-fiving MD before anyone else sees him. “If it isn’t my favorite fan!”
“You’re here!” MD says, his face glowing pure joy like a kid at Christmas. “I can’t believe we’re on the same train. Synchronicity. It’s amazing.”
“Word. Did you read that article in the Globe? You were quoted all over the place. It was stellar.”
“No. I haven’t seen it yet. Do you have a copy?”
“I don’t, but Fiona does.” I reach over and fluff my sister’s hair. “Fiona? You got the Heffernan article? Look who’s here. MD hasn’t seen it yet.”
Fiona glances at MD and looks away, awkward-like. She rummages through her tote bag, mumbling something. She hands the article to me without meeting my eye. For real, she makes a point to look away from us.
But MD grasps her hand. “Fiona,” he says quietly. “My apologies for my outburst the other day. It was a completely inappropriate emotional response. I do that sometimes. You can ask my mother. I’ll be at a funeral and start cracking up. Weird things get into my head when sad or serious things are supposed to be there. It’s a shameful habit. More like a tic. I just can’t help it. The world just doesn’t make any sense sometimes.”
“Oh, that’s okay,” Fiona says, taking her hand away. MD turns back to me, so he doesn’t see her wiping her hand on her shirt.