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John M McMahon
Limestone Waters
John McMahon, author
Limestone Waters is a salacious, sordid coming-of-age romp set in the mid 1980s in northwest New Jersey. MICHAEL WALSH is a Vietnam veteran with Post-traumatic stress disorder. He wonders aimlessly through life in a haze of booze, drugs, and wanton sex. Best buddy, TUCHI, fellow Vietnam vet, is Mike’s edgy sidekick. Mike begins to realize that there must be more to life; more than living in your mother’s basement. He longs for happiness, true love, and to belong. Nagging questions about Mike’s long-lost father also haunt him. CHESTER, a local cop, childhood friend, and fellow Nam vet, harasses Mike every chance he gets. A classic Chester move fuels the action to follow: he barrels into one of Mike’s job sites, threatens him, busts his taillight, and gives Mike a ticket for it. Mike can’t get rid of the stench Chester leaves in his wake. Sleazy, illegal unfinished business with Chester is revealed as the rapid-fire plot charges forward, and Mike is finally forced to confront him. Mike is harassed again by Chester and his goons at his birthday party later that day. After another crazy party night with his best friend, Tuchi, and his girl SHARON—Mike and his girl, BETH, start brawling. Beth admits that she never got an abortion and is carrying Mike’s child. His head spins with confusion and doubt as his life spirals out of control. His nightmares about the war continue to add to his troubled existence. Although Mike and Tuchi’s friendship is tight, and they have never fought over their respective go-go dancer girlfriends, Mike longs for things his present lifestyle can’t give him. His life is about to change when TERRY, his stepfather’s niece, moves in next door on New Year’s Day.From Ireland, she’s so different from the women he typically falls for; Mike is instantly captivated. She’s fierce, outspoken, and she’s grounded in her beliefs and faith. After a bumpy introduction to Terry, they begin to hit it off and a relationship ensues. Mike realizes that he has no choice but to leave behind his old ways if he wants her in his life. When they are introduced to the Limestone Waters spring, a sacred Native American site, Terry proclaims it “a thin place”—a place where the boundary between the spirit world and the living world is thin; they intermingle. All is well until Mike and Terry quarrel on Easter and he’s pulled back into his old ways by Tuchi and Beth. The drugs and booze take over. Terry catches him naked with Beth and Tuchi, and she knocks Beth out cold. Beth later sets her hair and Mike’s apartment on fire and he’s kicked out by his mom. Terry is disgusted with him as well, and to top it off, fights with Tuchi. Homeless, nothing is solved when Mike stays with his co-worker KEVIN, a WWII vet. They have more in common than Mike knew, including their drinking, lonely lives, and the fact that Kevin turns out to be Mike’s father. This revelation soon takes him over the edge to a path toward destruction or deliverance. He chooses the latter, and with Terry’s help, he saves Beth and his unborn child from the demonic clutches of Chester. At the precipice of the Limestone Waters’ cliff face, Mike finally corners Chester. With guns pointed and a storm ragging, Mike, Chester, Beth, Tuchi and Tuchi’s dog, ASSASSINO, all fall into the water. Chester is dispatched by the waters with the help of the dog, and Beth gives birth at the water’s edge. All those who entered—and emerged from—the Limestone Waters are forever changed. A happy ending follows during Mike and Beth’s wedding held in the hospital. Mike accepts his newfound father and forgives his family for holding the long-held secret. Terry softens on Beth, and Tuchi and Sharon make peace. SERGEY, the gatekeeper for the Limestone Waters, hands Mike a mason jar of the water as he says to Terry, “It’s what he wanted and what he needed for so long—right, Mike?”