THE OTHER SIDE OF TOMORROW extends itself over twenty years in the Life of Buddy Ryan. It opens with the funeral of Jack Spivey, which is turned into a grotesque cartoon. The story quickly winds itself around the question of unobtainable truths about good and evil.
There are in every society, and in virtually every family, secrets so toxic that they cannot be exposed. Their exposure and disclosure would erode the twisted and tarnished fabric that holds lives and societies together. Buddy Ryan lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana as that city moves from World War I to the end of World War II. The secrets he must unravel to determine who killed Jack Spivey and why are wrapped in the enigma of a south where land, timber, chemical, and oil fortunes are being made at the cost of human dignity and the unmitigated suffering of black men and women who are denied the safety and comfort guaranteed by the constitution.
Buddy resides for his whole life on a single little street, Church Street that manifests all the flaws of a social and political system that is driven by mendacity. The street is peopled by a rich mixture of bold men capable of great duplicity such as the sheriff Gilbow Brown who trades the power of his office for political, financial, and sexual favors, and Poley Breaux Jack’s best friend and the holder of Jack’s secret. Poley is a man capable of and equal to Gilbow Brown’s level of violence, but bound by a code of honor that denies him the liberties that Gilbow freely takes.
The wheel that drives the story is Lilith Baines. She uses her beauty and her guile to manipulate men to her own advantage each in turn from the innocent Jack Spivey, to the powerful Christopher Callahan, the corrupt Gilbow Brown, and the two innocent little boys who are the unintended products of her nefarious schemes. Lilith generates despair and hurt behind her secrets.
The two lost boys, Jackie Spivey and Jefferson Lee, are both spawned from the same web of intrigue and unwarranted suffering that is Lilith’s pursuit of wealth and respect. The wisdom of a black woman Georgia Desha cannot save both the boys. They cannot both get to the other side of tomorrow where Buddy Ryan discovers Jack Spivey’s secret and why he died.