Hack is a fictional story about a young cotton mill village derelict temporarily employed at a nursing home. It explores relationships that develop between the protagonist (Hack) and a group of nursing home patients in the twilight of their lives.
The story begins on a hot August night in 1962 in a small mill village in Alabama when Hack agrees to haul a load of moonshine for a local bootlegger and a bizarre adventure unfolds beginning with his arrest.
After his release from jail and spending several restless nights on a city park bench, Hack finds temporary employment at a nursing home.
Hardened by years on the streets and in the back alleys of the mill village, Hack finds himself unexpectedly moved by the isolation and loneliness of the patients. When he learns that one of the patients was deteriorating rapidly because he couldn't keep food down, Hack takes him to a private corner of the courtyard and gives him a toke of marijuana. The nursing home staff is astounded that night when the patient eats everything on his dinner tray, chats animatedly with everyone, and sleeps through the night without nausea.
When Hack is asked by one of the nurses to substitute for her as coordinator of a patients' social which is scheduled for the last week of his employment, an idea emerges and he enlists the help of his mill village friends.
When the patients are escorted and wheeled into the dayroom for the social, they are served tea and brownies made with marijuana leaves. As the chatter picks up, the program begins and each patient's life, one by one, is unrolled like a banner of glory.
Traces of marijuana are found in urine tests and Hack is arrested and sentenced to three years in prison, and the story concludes with a poignant jailhouse scene in which the reader is left with the conviction that Hack's personal story is just beginning... [via]