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Troy is twenty-seven years old and seemingly has no real direction in life. Whiling away his time as a construction worker and developing a bent towards alcoholism, Troy is a classic underachiever. But he is intelligent enough to recognize his potential and Troy believes he has the inner-strength to live up to it.

Victory! is a novel which predominantly takes place in a small western North Carolina town and brings to life individuals from all walks of society---from a ...

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Troy is twenty-seven years old and seemingly has no real direction in life. Whiling away his time as a construction worker and developing a bent towards alcoholism, Troy is a classic underachiever. But he is intelligent enough to recognize his potential and Troy believes he has the inner-strength to live up to it.

Victory! is a novel which predominantly takes place in a small western North Carolina town and brings to life individuals from all walks of society---from a broken-down methamphetamine addict to a young, wealthy attorney; from a brazen and handsome womanizer to an insecure fool living on inherited wealth.

Follow the adventures of Troy in Victory! Let his self-help inspire you!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477258446
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 8/28/2012
  • Pages: 190
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Copyright © 2012 Lake Larsen, LLC
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4772-5844-6

Chapter One


I started drinking vodka when I was 14. Whatever I could buy from older kids, finagle out of my contemporaries, or steal from the parents of friends. From time to time I took part in the typical American teenage ritual of drinking beer, but mostly I preferred to stick to the vodka. And like any normal adolescent, I drank prodigiously during my high school years.

In 1998, I graduated and my life took a turn into what I then imagined were trying times. So it was at that point that I began in earnest my amorous relationship with the vodka. I could mix it with just about anything, shoot it with or without a chaser, or even chug it if necessary. In my opinion, vodka is the choice drink of alcoholics for those very reasons. Add the fact that all of my heroes are to be found in the pages of Russian literature and the relationship with vodka just kind of made sense.

I was completely enamored with the Russian lifestyle. those Russians don't screw around with anything virile. Duels, war, women, drinking. If I was an adherent to the Buddhist belief of reincarnation, I would be absolutely certain that I was a Don Cossack in a former life. I digress.

From 1999 and continuing through the events of this narrative, the vodka flowed like water in my household; at least a half gallon or more was purchased every Friday—usually just for me. Guests, while not overly frequent, didn't consume much of the vodka provision; I was the glutton that demanded the lion's share.

As a self-proclaimed Russophile, I obviously took serious notice whenever I came across anything that smacked of the Bear. Hence, when I read an account of people partaking in a quaint activity termed 'drinking vodka Russian-style', my faculties readily absorbed the same so that I could later emulate such a ceremony.

The 'Russian-style' of indulging in vodka consumption—so I have been informed by several written accounts—consists of always proposing a toast before any shot is taken. Said drink is followed with a vegetable chaser; preferably a pickle. And I did try hard with the utmost diligence to always observe that tradition, even though the same may have been concocted by some Russian expatriate(s) trying to cast some sort of veil of mystery over the popular tendencies of their mother country.

When I would drink to enormous excess as was all too often, I would sometimes find myself outdoors and exclaiming to the whole world, "Wodka!!!!!! Wodka!!!! Wodka!!!!! And long live Taras Bulba!!!!!!!"

* * *

At the time that this tale begins, I was in my vehicle at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning heading west on Interstate 40 and had already completed half of the jaunt back home. reflections on the preceding weekend were occupying nearly every thought going through my mind; the rehashing of the past forty-eight hours on that bright August morning in Appalachia was filling my soul with some much needed tonic.

I had enjoyed quite the entertaining weekend at my friend Brad's house on High Rock Lake in central North Carolina, which was located about 2 hours eastward from the place I called home. The weekend had included: drinking, young girls, boating, smoking, more drinking, swimming, barbecuing, more smoking, and did I fail to mention drinking? I must admit I felt slightly aged when I found the females a touch too young—the average age was right at 19 years and there was a coterie of typically five or six girls present at any given time throughout the course of those two days.

Your humble narrator spent some time alone that weekend with a certain mildly attractive blonde of medium height. The toned and supple twenty year old body was her most endearing feature—to be sure! For her mind consisted of a jumbled mass of discordant half-ideas bound together by a flurry of movie quotes. Talking with her was painful to say the least.

I felt that this Sunday drive had its own purpose, and that was to reminisce about the weekend. Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'the Breeze' was roaring with some force on my stereo and that is when I saw a figure that I would not be able to forget anytime soon thereafter. He stood about my height and had a lean—but not slight—build. His long, black hair contained thick streaks of gray and was gathered behind his head in a ponytail about half of the way down his back. This man was meandering along the edge of the Interstate with his arm lazily stuck out to the side while making a close-thumbed fist.

Perhaps it was the residual vodka that had me feeling fairly enabled to not have a care as to my personal safety. Perhaps it was mere curiosity. Or perhaps it was boredom with my current existence that overpowered and therefore compelled me to forget all concerns for my corporeal well-being and pull over on the shoulder in front of that seedy-looking man and bring an abrupt halt to the forward motion of my jeep.

In my rear-view mirror, this figure started to ever-so-slightly increase the speed of his gait. The closer he got to my vehicle, the more his pace quickened as if with growing confidence he sensed I wouldn't pull off and leave him in some prank of bad taste as most assuredly had happened to him from time to time.

As he crossed the threshold of the doorframe and entered the domain of my vehicle, he offered a black-toothed grin together with a shake of his extended right hand. "I'm Terry."

This fellow appeared to be approximately fifteen years older than myself. (Though in reality he was probably only five or ten years older; hard living on the road tends to hasten on the appearance of creases on the countenance.) Terry's penetrating blue eyes which protruded underneath his black eyebrows stared at me through a weathered and darkly-tanned face. A three-day-old gray and black beard completed this stranger.

I initiated the conversation. "so where are you headed?"


Wow! Terry was in for quite a long journey for which I could only provide a slight leg of the transportation service. I replied, "Oklahoma? Damn, that's a long way on down the road." After a brief pause I continued, "What is that? About twelve more hours down I-40?"

"Yep." He gave a thoughtful pause and then added, "Actually, it's about fourteen hours or so down the road ... I'm heading to Oklahoma City."

"What are you doing there? I mean ... why are you going to Oklahoma City?"

"I've got a lady friend that I'm gonna see. Moving in with her." Terry exhaled deeply. And then he continued. "Sir, I really do appreciate this ride that you're giving me. I really do ... but I've had a long past few days and if you don't mind, I'd kind of like to shut my eyes for a while."

"No problem. No problem at all."

"Thanks. I really appreciate it ... I really appreciate everything."

After a few seconds, I added, "Hey, I'm only going another hour or so down the Interstate, so I'll say something and wake you up when we get about five minutes from where I'm going to have to let you off."

"That'll be fine. I honestly appreciate it. I just need to rest my eyes, man."

Terry shut his eyes and put his head back while I just kept my eyes on the road as I had been doing prior to picking up this seemingly kind-mannered vagabond. After the passing of about ten minutes, my thoughts involuntarily turned to the overall appearance of the resting terry. His apparel of a flannel shirt with the long sleeves protruding under the cuffs of his denim jacket during the heat of the late summer told me that he was no stranger to making himself comfortable regardless of the circumstances—whether he found himself in the confines of a single-wide trailer or sleeping night after night under a highway bridge.

After a few more studied glances at my new companion, I subconsciously found myself contemplating the life of a gypsy and how I was entirely ill-equipped to live that way. The creature comforts of a permanent domicile throughout the years had quite a pronounced effect on softening me. And here I was daring to envision that my shenanigans of sleeping in a hallway that weekend (or not sleeping at all!) had transformed me into some sort of adventurer. What a silly dreamer I was!

This basic line of thought and not much other had been monopolizing my stream of consciousness with such a force that I paid no heed to my passenger opening and rubbing his eyes half an hour later. As a result of his action, I suddenly had the realization that we were only a few minutes away from when I would bid Terry farewell and wish him good luck during the rest of his travels.

"Whoah. Man, I really needed that little shuteye." terry rubbed his eyes and yawned while staring straight ahead at the highway.

I replied with, "Good deal, man. Good deal. Hey in about ten minutes or so, I'm going to have to drop you off."

"No problem." Terry started in on his ever-so-brief farewell speech that I'm sure he was no novice in providing. "Man, I really appreciate the ride. And for letting me shut my eyes for a little bit."

"Don't worry about it. I'm just sorry I couldn't take you farther down the road."

My focus then shifted to what I would be doing later on that Sunday. In all probability, my afternoon would consist of sitting around by myself and slamming vodka shots on my back deck while listening to the radio. And that activity alone would most likely comprise the extent of my Sunday.

As I had done just prior to offering Terry a ride, I performed a quick mental sizing up of the risk of hanging around with a potentially dangerous person that I knew little about and compared that with the reward of spending the day learning the habits and ideas of the heretofore unknown caste of the vagrant.

And the thrill of risk prevailed against a cold, calculated concern for my well-being. So I said, "Hey terry, do you drink?"

He slowly turned his head to focus his eyes on me and answered with, "Sometimes. Not much here lately."

"Well, I'm not doing a damn thing this afternoon other than putting a sizeable dent in a bottle of vodka. Do you want to assist me in my endeavor?"

Terry maintained his gaze on me while he involuntarily moved his head up and down in order to size me up. And after a drawn-out pause, he said, "Sure."

* * *

I was haphazardly dating a woman a bit older than me. Vanessa stood only about five feet tall and therefore had not much room to store the few excess pounds that she had inevitably put on throughout the years. Regardless of her semi-queenly figure, she invariably succeeded in attracting the attention of the opposite sex by sporting a mane of platinum-blonde hair and being extremely liberal in applying her cosmetics—one might even go so far as to hint that she painted herself as would a harlot.

Vanessa could fairly be characterized as blue collar due to the mannerisms that she had picked up from those closest to her. Her mother was employed in a textile mill during Vanessa's entire childhood and her ex-husband, who was fifteen years her senior, owned a small cabinet carpentry business. Vanessa herself had worked in every hourly-wage job imaginable, from fast-food restaurant employment to grocery store clerk to the lofty heights of her current vocation of bank teller.

Probably like every other male in her life, the "whore look" is what initially brought Vanessa to my attention. But later on, I must admit that I found her to have a very sensible head on her shoulders.

It would be fair to say that she supremely fell in love with me from the very start because I cut a polar opposite figure from her ex-husband, Tim. Her oft-rocky marriage with Tim contained prolonged periods of domestic violence. Otherwise, Tim had lived in such a frugal and predictable manner that I'd venture to guess that he had attained the full demeanor of a senior citizen by the age of forty. Vanessa frequently intimated that the day of her divorce from Tim was the happiest day in her life.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Vanessa, I did not harbor serious amorous feelings in return. But it greatly worked in her favor that she tolerated my frequent bouts of dissipation. Vanessa also possessed the uncanny ability to ground me at will whenever my shenanigans or oaths would get out of hand. I would even go so far as to say that the security I felt employing her as a safety valve was her most endearing quality.

* * *

I am unaware if the reader is familiar with the Smirnoff brand of vodka, but basically, it comes in three kinds: an eighty proof red-capped version, a ninety proof silver-capped, and a one hundred proof blue version. Each variant seems to produce a different state of mind. When consumed in large amounts, the Blue obviously overpowers any hint at self-control. And Blue also contains the side-effect of fueling the ever-increasing desire for more.

It so happened that during that particular Sunday afternoon, at my house was a bottle of Smirnoff Blue. And Blue is the color that Terry and I were to be celebrating on that day.

Upon reaching my house, Terry and I took leave of my jeep, walked inside and made straight for the kitchen. I took the bottle of Smirnoff Blue out of the cupboard and pulled out a couple of ceramic ochokos from the same shelf. (I never drank sake—hated it in fact—but found ochokos much more apt than traditional shot glasses to withstand the negligent abuse that invariably followed my first several vodka drinks.) Next, I took a jar of dill pickle slices out of the refrigerator, fished out a quantity and placed them on a small plate. I filled up the ochokos, passed one to Terry, and uttered the toast "to Oklahoma." We completed the Russian-style drink with the pickle slices serving as chasers.

I then directed Terry to wait in the kitchen while I stepped in my bedroom to make a quick telephone call. naturally, the call went out to Vanessa to let her know that I had safely arrived home from my trip and to apprise her of the identity of my drinking companion for that day. I asked her if she would like to come over and spend a few hours with us. As Vanessa had never lived outside of the county of her birth, I ensured my success in procuring her presence by dangling the bait of hearing a monologue from terry about life on the road. The truth be told, while I was lukewarm to the prospect of seeing Vanessa, I divined that I was in serious need of her chaperone services for that day.

Vanessa and I had been dating long enough to give her confidence that personal safety was never an issue when she was in my company. She knew that deep within me was a protectionist attitude as far as her well-being was concerned and that particular Sunday with Terry would not be her first time to pay me a visit while I was entertaining an unsavory character. Furthermore, her lower-middle class upbringing taken together with the long period of finding herself on a constant vigil of self-defense from an abusive proletarian husband emboldened her and basically gave the woman no qualms about paying me a visit while my hitcher companion was present.

After obtaining Vanessa's acceptance of my Sunday afternoon invitation, I walked back into my kitchen and found terry perusing through my cupboards. He took notice of me and queried, "Hey man, you got any crackers or snacks? I haven't eaten anything in over a day and that vodka is making hell on my stomach."

"Sure, man. No problem." I motioned to the high cupboard over the sink and with a slightly quizzical expression that I assumed was due to my junk food being stored in such a high place, terry opened up the cupboard and found the object of his desire—a half-eaten sack of corn chips.

Terry grabbed the bag of Fritos and ravenously started in on them with purpose. In between handfuls of chips, he said, "That sure is a funny place to keep snacks."

"Well, Terry, I sometimes have company that could stand not to eat junk food. And this certain person is mighty short in stature so putting the chips up there just kind of makes sense."

I changed the subject back to the vodka: "Anyway ... hey man, let's do another shot. Let's get some serious drinking going."

After a repetition of the Russian ritual, I informed terry that we would soon be receiving some female company. I verbally painted him a brief portrait of Vanessa, which was much more concise than the description that I just provided to the reader. (Vanessa would surely have been cross with me if I gave any real detail of her life to a complete stranger! And vexing my de facto guardian angel was something that I tried to keep to a minimum.)

We hastened to put away a few more drinks before Vanessa arrived. "To beautiful women." "To north Carolina." "to a life of freedom." And just like the vodka, the dill pickle slices were being consumed at an ever-increasing rate.

* * *

The possession of firearms is essential if one is to maintain some semblance of bodily security in the sometimes lawless and violent America. Since I was legally old enough to do so, I have owned various weapons highly capable of spitting out mortality-inducing projectiles. Maybe I have watched too many movies; I half-jestingly referred to my silver-tipped hollow point bullets as 'werewolf killers'. I guess I always felt that if all hell did indeed break loose, I would be much better served if I could project my will with deadly accuracy.


Excerpted from Victory! by LAKE LARSEN Copyright © 2012 by Lake Larsen, LLC. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Vanessa....................1
Chapter 2. Aleks....................21
Chapter 3. Elliott....................35
Chapter 4. Shep....................53
Chapter 5. Her....................79
Chapter 6. Jimmy....................83
Chapter 7. Steve....................117
Chapter 8. Dad....................137
Chapter 9. Cam....................165
Chapter 10. Victory!....................177
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 23, 2012

    Must Read for those who want to better themselves and have not yet taken the initiative!

    This book should be read by adults who are caught up in alcoholism and/or who have surrounded themselves with unsavory characters or people who just meander through life without a real purpose of bettering themselves.

    Too many times folks seem to simply take what life gives them, roll with it, and live day-to-day without ever taking corrective action to changing their everyday lifestyle.

    Two-thirds through this book I started to put it down because I was depressed reading about "losers", in general. Thankfully, I did not put it down, for the last chapter was so refreshing to see the lead character actually make a change in his life to better himself.

    Also, if I was a student/faculty member/etc. of Wake Forest University (which I'm not), I would think this might become required reading.

    The book led me to wondering, "how many young adults actually live like this?", having no goals or aspirations whatsoever, and just simply take and be satisfied with what life seems to offer, no more, no less.

    Thank the Lord for the last chapter, or I would have stayed depressed. Truly, this character found "VICTORY!", and I hope other readers will find "VICTORY!" also.

    Good, easy read with a story. Not too long, nor too short.

    Will continue to look for Lake Larsen novels to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    This story was too realistic. When I read a book, I want to be

    This story was too realistic. When I read a book, I want to be taken away from the real world and some of the characters in Victory! resembled people I've known throughout the years.

    Another thing---I don't like to read about the use of illegal drugs and this book had quite a bit of that.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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