Synopsis: Tim Castle’s father retires from the military at the end of the Vietnam War. Landing a cushy defense job in Miami proves to be a tumultuous move for all family members. Tim first tries to fit in as a star swim jock, but the team social scene turns against him. By his junior year, Tim is hanging out with the wrong crowd, smoking and dealing weed. Under the influence of his occult-worshiping neighbor Robby, he forms the rock band False Gods, playing house and frat parties at the University of Miami. The star of the band is his boyfriend, Jace Conning,, who combines pranks, adventures and energy to lead the band to stardom, at least in Miami. The boys defy gravity only long enough to see Jace’s murder by his abusive older brother. Tim is barely able to hold it together, speaking in signs and tongues, at churches and street corners to the youth of his generation, as Teen Jesus. The band continues after Jace’s death, making a movie of the Jace Tribute concert, rewriting Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ at school, and touring Southern road houses, NJ warehouses, and NYC dives. The school play thrusts gay boy Jack Stone into Tim’s life. With inspiration from Jace’s ghost, Jack replaces Jace in the band and in Tim’s bed. Playing their first stadium rock concert, they incite the crowd to break down the fences. The police fire into the crowd. There are numerous injuries, and Tim’s dog Max is killed. Tim is threatened with arrest for having an open beer at the concert.
Max’s death marks a different trajectory to Tim’s life than the one described in the Postscript to The Jace Experience. No one should expect to always get a pass in life, especially when you skirt the law in so many ways. A Prairie Christmas follows Tim in a not so nice alternative reality.