My rainy, damp Sunday afternoon was vastly improved by spending an hour listening to Ed Harris narrate Don Winslow’s short story about Billy, a thirty-seven-year-old San Diego surf dog who is passionately committed to living his life for free, paying for nothing except gas for the classic Westphalia van he lives in.
Living for free takes a lot of effort, planning and discipline and an absolute belief in his right to mooch. Billy’s efforts are regarded with a mixture of affection and disbelief by the Dawn Patrol group of surfers he hangs out with. But even Billy knows that he can’t live like this forever. So he’s searching for his personal ‘Unicorn’ – a Sugar Momma who will keep him in luxury.
Billy’s Unicorn hunt and its consequences are told with a degree of affectionate whimsey that reminded me of O’Henry’s stories.
‘Free Billy’ is available for free to Audible members in the UK and the US so, if you’re a member and you want a feel-good hour that’s easy on the ears, get yourself a copy of this story.