A prejudiced war veteran battling PTSD returns home to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer. But is he ready?
Crooked Fences is a fiercely honest story of change about a returning war veteran’s battle to overcome the debilitating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, before entering the New York State Police Academy. First, he must confront the hatred of racism and homophobia instilled in him by his father while working at a low-income housing project.
C.J. Heigelmann is a writer and multi-genre novelist of Contemporary, Literary, and Historical fiction. He fluently expresses his work with a primary focus on perspective and realism which separates him from many mainstream contemporary authors. Heigelmann's style of writing is marked by cultural inclusion and social diversity resulting in relevant, unique, and compelling fiction novels.
In this excerpt, The main character fulfills his promise to escort an elderly African American woman to her church. He has never attended an African American worship service before and is initially pessimistic due to his racial and stereotypical beliefs, which have been compounded by the PTSD he is suffering with from the war. However, he soon realizes the positive effect that the experience has on his addiction. Although he does not prescribe to any specific religious belief system, his internal dialogue illustrates the value to sufferers of PTSD and addictions, to surround themselves with positive and hopeful people within a safe and peaceful environment.
Ms. Pearl turned and pulled me to her. “Let’s get in the prayer line. I need you to help me.” I stood and escorted her to the back of the prayer line. While we waited, I noticed a stark difference in the atmosphere of the service. It was like a cool-down period. Most folks sat in their seats, singing with their eyes closed. Intermittently, people would stand up abruptly with their hands raised, crying out with phrases of gratitude. I couldn’t understand why they were doing it. Although I was confused, I didn’t see anything wrong or harmful in what was happening. It was as if the entire experience was immune from criticism. Despite the loud music and unexpected surprises, I was actually happy to be here and for the first time, without alcohol, I didn’t feel anxious or stressed.