Dean O’Leary is a man truly out of time, both in a sense of his dapper 1940s pinstripe suit, gun-touting style and a time warp that leaves him in the not too distant future. The novella, Silence by William Brandon III, tells the story of O’Leary, a bank robber with an unquenchable thirst for life, love and a good glass of gin. In a tale woven like no other, Brandon takes you on one man’s quest to find that special something we all crave—satisfaction. Fulfilling the “more” you want, just over the bend, reaching over that one last stretch for contentedness.
Silence follows O’Leary around 1997, just before his last score, a bank robbery that leaves a blood trail and a bad taste in his mouth. With enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life, he decides to leave behind his days of being the point man (lookout), and ironically, start a fresh life in the city of sin—Las Vegas. Gambling, booze and women seem to be the vices that O’Leary can’t get enough of. A sharp whit and an unrelenting desire to find a woman that completes him, O’Leary finds himself with his heart on his sleeve, and sometimes, his hand ready at the zipper. Brandon does a great job of presenting O’Leary, faults and all. His writing is a prose painting that captures every vibrant and colorful character, especially the women, like works of art: plump lips, flawless skin, sensual curves and eyes portraying the depths of their souls. But in reality, they are twisted and flawed on the inside like a Salvatore Dali painting; their mentality is surreal, bent like the sands of time.
Like a Shakespearean tragedy mixed with a little bit of the Twilight Zone, the woman of his dreams, with enough intellect, beauty, and a je ne sais quoi that O’Leary has never seen or felt before is bestowed upon him after falling through a time warp that leaves him in the year 2013. He may still be that man out of time, but not the man looking over his shoulder waiting for the trigger to be pulled. No, he was a man sent 16 years in the future, and given a glimpse of real love and life.
Brandon’s style of writing in this novella is timeless. He perfectly captures the humanity of O’Leary. Every puff of smoke, sip of gin and philosophical rambling has you questioning your life—your wants, needs and goals. Like O’Leary, we find ourselves wondering: if we reach that one last goal, will we be happy? But money is just a Band-Aid on a bleeding vein, and Brandon shows us that love, true, intoxicating love is what we really crave. Silence is so much more than a tale of romance and robbery. I recommend you give it a read; it may just open your eyes to the world around you, and give you some introspective on your life choices.
If you enjoy Silence, you will also be captivated by his short story Selene in 1888 Center’s The Cost of Paper Volume One. This story expands upon the world of Silence.