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NONESUCH BOOM by William M. Barnes


by William M. Barnes

446 pages
Town hopes for oil boom. It isn't what they expected.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
WAYNE CUNNINGHAM dreams of growing up to be a sheriff in his hometown, Nonesuch, Texas. His friend, GAZ MENEFEE, hopes to be an attorney.

Swimming alone in the Pecos River, Wayne becomes entangled in a trotline belonging to a Negro boy, PINKIE HOLLIFIELD. A huge catfish pulls Wayne under, threatening to drown him. Pinkie must choose between rescuing Wayne or his fish. Wayne wins. They become close friends.

World War One approaches and Pinkie joins up. After being wounded in France, he travels as a boxer in tent shows around the country.

Wayne becomes deputy sheriff. Gaz returns from law school with an alcoholic wife and an infant son, GASSY. They divorce. Wayne’s girlfriend, PHYLLIS, leaves him and marries Gaz.

Gassy becomes mentally-disturbed as a teenager and tries to kill his father. Wayne is forced to shoot the boy, damaging his friendship with Gaz.

Gaz strikes oil, becomes rich and is elected county attorney.

Pinkie returns. RUBY WATSON hires him as cook at her café. Pinkie marries EFFIE. They move into a shack in the “flats”, across the irrigation ditch from town.

Pinkie saves PATRICIA HATCH from rape by the high school’s football star. Some townspeople blame Pinkie for the team’s losing season.

Pinkie accepts a grateful offer from Patricia’s mother, SEELY HATCH, for free lodging in the “white” portion of town despite Effie’s premonition of racial repercussions. Effie becomes pregnant and they happily await their baby’s birth.

A sniper’s bullet kills Effie as she does laundry in the alley. Gaz forgives Wayne and offers to help find Effie’s killer.

Grieving, Pinkie wakes from a drunken sleep to find Patricia in his bed. He leaves town, fearful of a lynching. Wayne finds him in Dallas and brings him safely back to Nonesuch.

Seely teaches Pinkie to read and write.

Wayne falls in love with newcomer, FLO CROSSLAND. Overcoming competition from two younger rivals, he marries her.

Pinkie inherits fifty acres of worthless dry land and a pair of mules. He finds precious water and becomes a successful farmer. He marries a destitute widow and adopts her two infant sons.

While Seely is attending Patricia’s wedding in California, Pinkie looks after her house. It burns down and Pinkie mysteriously disappears. The sheriff orders Wayne to arrest Pinkie. Wayne refuses and resigns.

Wayne works in the oil fields and continues his efforts to clear Pinkie's name. He starts drinking heavily and Flo divorces him. After several years, Wayne is elected county sheriff.

When a gas well blowout threatens to destroy Nonesuch, the townspeople put aside their racial differences and lay a makeshift waterline in time to save the town. The bankrupt owner of the gas well pays the town for damages.

Wayne and Gaz discover Pinkie's body and solve his murder.

After twenty years, Wayne re-visits Nonesuch. The oil wells are dry. Ruby’s Café, the picture show and drugstore sit empty. Like many other forgotten boomtowns, Nonesuch is dead.

Standing at Pinkie’s grave with his memories, Wayne receives a surprise.


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About the Author
William M. Barnes William M. Barnes’ first book was Nonesuch Chronicles (short stories). Two novels, Running on the Edge and White Cockroach, followed.

Nonesuch Boom depicts a disastrous oil well blowout and its effect on people in a small West Texas town.

A geologist, Barnes lives in Conroe, Texas with his wife, Margaret.



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