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Cashman's Odyssey: A Rapscallion's Journey from New York City to the Jungles of Southeast Asia by Thomas D'Agnes

Cashman's Odyssey: A Rapscallion's Journey from New York City to the Jungles of Southeast Asia

by Thomas D'Agnes

230 pages
Larry Cashman dreamed of living in the tropics. Having few redeeming qualities, it was unlikely he could escape from New York City. Through uncanny good luck, he lived in Southeast Asia and Hawaii. Read his story in The Cashman Chronicles.

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About the Book
Larry Cashman, the lovable rogue and scoundrel, has led an unusual life. He grew up on the means streets of New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. The cauldron of racial and ethnic conflict that was New York City in the mid-twentieth century was a tempestuous place to live for a coward and candy ass who was bereft of ambition, had no aspirations, had few if any skills, and was lazy, selfish and venal. Cashman has been called a troublemaker, a scammer, a loser, a bounder, and a rapscallion.

New York City’s cold, inhospitable climate added to Cashman’s misery. He longed to leave his dismal circumstances in New York for some tropical paradise where winter was a distant memory. Given his aimless existence and the absence of any redeeming qualities, the only way Cashman could get to a tropical paradise was if Captain Kirk from Star Trek beamed him there. The best Cashman could hope for was to become a used car salesman on Long Island.

What Cashman had in spades was uncanny good luck. Through pure serendipity, he met his wife Sabrina, who not only shared his dream of living in a tropical paradise; she had a concrete plan to achieve it that didn’t rely on a fictional character like Captain Kirk.

The Cashman Chronicles recounts the story of Cashman’s journey from the bowels of New York City to his exploits in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. In Volume 1 “Cashman’s Odyssey,” Cashman escapes the shackles of New York City to work on the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico, where a spell cast on him by a medicine man lands him in the hospital needing emergency surgery. He moves on to Hawaii where his distinguished professor overlooks his many idiosyncrasies and sends him to Thailand for his fieldwork. In Thailand, he conducts the fieldwork for his master’s in public health degree under a brilliant public health physician who regularly communicates with aliens from outer space. Then he works in a refugee camp when 140,000 Cambodian refugees fleeing the Pol Pot genocide descend on the camp seeking food, shelter, health care, and safety.

In Volume 2 Cashman in the Tropics Cashman moves on to Indonesia and the Philippines where he narrowly escapes being sent to a squalid Indonesian prison. He has run-ins with Indonesian demons and whale sharks. He gets involved in a shady Philippine telecommunications deal that is scuttled when Mt. Pinatubo erupts. He idles away on a golf course in Manila while a coup d’etat threatens his wife and daughter. The helicopter transporting him over the guerilla-infested jungles of Palawan Island in the Philippines crashes because of his spinelessness.

After leaving the Philippines, Cashman arrives in Laos as that benighted country opens up to the outside world after twenty years of isolation following the Vietnam War. He travels into the heart of darkness in Laos where he is introduced to its many miseries, like blood-sucking leeches, giant flying insects, toxic elixirs, and the unrecognizable culinary delicacies of Lao cuisine. He is ambushed by guerillas while on an expedition through rebel-infested jungles, and he gets hauled before Lao communist party interrogators who threaten to throw him out of the country.

While living in the tropics, Cashman develops a performing act that capitalizes on his unique talent for deceit, guile, and trickery that gets him thrown into jail, causes an audience member to have a heart attack, and gets him threatened by a clown. After leaving the tropics he gets hired and nearly fired as a professor at a prestigious West Coast university.

Throughout his odyssey Larry Cashman remains the same unprincipled (but lovable), lazy, venal, and selfish schemer and coward he always was, with no ambition, no aspirations, few skills, and no moral compass whom you initially met in the first chapter of the Cashman Chronicles.



About the Author
Thomas D’Agnes was born and raised in New York City. He spent 40 years living and working in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Laos in international development. He was a lecturer in the International Public Policy Program at the University of Southern California. He is retired and lives in Hawaii.



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