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LordVaderbytheSwamptWhen the good Reverend called to ask if I would write the foreword for his book The Angels’ Portion: A Clergyman’s Whisky Narrative, my first thought was, “How in the hell fires of Mustafar did he find me? Everyone thinks I’m dead.” And then he mentioned jokingly that he knew all along I was still alive because he “felt it in the Force.” When I didn’t laugh, he cleared his throat and took a more serious tone.

He began detailing the suspicion that if my son Luke, who, by the way everyone knows is much weaker than I when it comes to the Force, well, if he could survive a dosage of something like five straight minutes of the Emperor’s dark lightning, then four or five seconds of it shooting through my manly frame would probably only cause the 1980s DOS system in my helmet to flutter and reboot. The Reverend was right. That’s exactly what happened. I saw a brief “blue screen of death” and then everything was cool. But I played dead.

Maybe you folks remember that just after I chucked ol’ Palpatine into the reactor shaft (not necessarily because he was picking on Luke, but rather because of a longstanding grudge that you’ll read about in this particular volume), well, as Luke was trying to get me on the ship, I told him that it was too late for me, that I was dying. Personally, I think I deserved an Oscar for that performance. But anyway, Luke, of course, whined as he always did, “No! I’ve got to save you!” That’s when I winked and said that he already had. Here was my chance to get a brand new start.

The camera man missed it. My idiot son missed it completely. I’m guessing that all of you missed it, too.

Thinking I was gone, Luke dragged me onto the cruiser and strapped me in. While he was getting us the heck out of the unreasonably fragile and poorly designed “it’s no moon, it’s a space station” disaster that was the Deathstar, I stuffed my suit with droid parts and hid in the john. Thankfully, back on Endor, Luke didn’t even think to take me out of the suit. I don’t know if he thought he needed to get rid of me as soon as possible for the sake of getting some sort of massive life insurance check, but the little druid just tossed what he thought was his dead dad onto a pile of brush and torched me like some sort of Viking being sent off to an impatient Valhalla.

In the end, the hardest part of going off the grid was not only paying that stupid upstart hologram company to keep quiet, but to design my afterlife image so that every time Luke got whiny and called for me, I would show up next to Yoda — the two of us hovering there like indentured Genies. And it’s a good thing Luke still isn’t very sharp because he hasn’t figured out that we never speak. His dead but hologrammed father and the little green Jedi master just sit there and smile, every now and then nodding their heads in artificial affirmation. I did pay a little extra to have ol’ Obi Wan show up every now and then.

So, anyway, I’m still alive. And just so you know, I’m working as a facilities assistant at an aquatic-life park in Florida. No, it’s not SeaWorld. It’s more of a gator farm, but hey, I’m off the grid and very happy.

Still, you’re wondering how Reverend Thoma found me, right? I’m afraid I can’t share those details because if I do, others might find me, too. Let’s just say that the answer to the question is the same as if you’d asked, “Why should I buy and read a book about whisky written by a clergyman?” The Reverend is a man of detail. He pays attention, and from what I can tell, the skill seems to serve him well in finding things others cannot, most especially when he’s sipping Scotch. Add to this his careful concern for the story within each bottle. He brings out the narrative. Each one is eerily seductive, as if throughout he’s waving his hand and using the Force to either persuade you to try the whisky, or to gently urge, “This isn’t the whisky you are looking for.”

Whether you are a Rebel supporter or an Imperial lackey, you’ll appreciate this book. Personally, I take it with me every time I visit my favorite liquor store in Clearwater. I keep it in hand and refer to it before I buy anything new, and so far, the good Reverend hasn’t steered me into any asteroid fields — although, as you know, asteroid fields don’t concern me.

Lord Vader