Doctor Jane Beekman has seen her dying mother's soul, a vision above the bed--a soul struggling with a decision, some undone task, something in this world too noble to leave. The sight was brief, but surely a lesson. The lingering question--Why?--prompts a shift in the doctor's priorities. For in this election year Jane must do what her mother, an aspiring social activist, would have done.
Soon, Jane is deep in the world of Georgia politics, working to make sure her dynamic young brother-in-law Jackson Beekman is elected the next governor, regardless of what the soul of the candidate's dead father or that of his living brother--Jane's husband--might want done. Indeed, it is a mother's persistence and a father's legacy that will ultimately turn one Beekman brother against the other, a struggle with moral consequences that may extend far beyond Georgia.
Set amidst 2004's polarizing election fears--immigrants and job takeovers, terrorists in waiting, homosexuals and outsider agendas--Shirtless Men Drink Free makes vivid the human soul's struggle in a world bedeviled by desire and the fears that leave us all asking--Why?