New Stories from the Midwest 2012

By John McNally; Jason Lee Brown et al. | Go to book overview

Eleven
Drunk Girl in Stilettos

Lee Martin

WE CAME UP ON HER SOUTH OF TOWN on the blacktop, Wink and me, this girl looking all whoop-de-doo in high heels, her hip jutted out, her thumb stuck in the air, begging a ride.

“Pull over,” I said. We were running eighty in his Mustang GT, and it was going to take a while to shut it down. “Damn it, Wink. Now.”

“Jesus, Benny.” He pressed his lips together and squinted at me with his right eye. His left one—or the empty socket, I should say—had a black, satin patch over it. He owned an artificial eye made from acrylic, but he wasn’t wearing it that day. The patch gave him a tough look that I suspected he secretly liked. The thin strap slanted down across his forehead. “All of a sudden you’re a Boy Scout?” He was busting my balls, but he’d already put his foot to the brake. “Thought you were in a hurry to get home.”

“Just do it,” I said, and he did.

He was in one of his pissy moods and more of a mind to keep heading up the blacktop, but I saw a girl who needed a ride, and I knew what that was like. Let me say it plain: I’ve not always been an upright man, and, as a result, I’ve had to rely on the kindness of folks; some, like my mama, loved me, and some were strangers who didn’t owe me the time of day.

We were maybe a hundred yards beyond the girl, and Wink was stubborn and wouldn’t back up, so we waited while she came to us, teetering along on those

-131-

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New Stories from the Midwest 2012
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Editors’ Note xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • One - Mr. Scary 6
  • Two - To Psychic Underworld 22
  • Three - Townie 32
  • Four - The Amnesiac in the Maze 47
  • Five - The Deep 56
  • Six - Circling in the Air 72
  • Seven - Down to Bone 83
  • Eight - Starry Night 94
  • Nine - Peter Torrelli, Falling Apart 104
  • Ten - In Which a Coffin Is a Bed but an Ox Is Not a Coffin 117
  • Eleven - Drunk Girl in Stilettos 131
  • Twelve - The State Bird of Minnesota 146
  • Thirteen - The Five Points of Performance 156
  • Fourteen - The Baby Glows 170
  • Fifteen - Splendid, Silent Sun 172
  • Sixteen - Miscarriages 185
  • Seventeen - American Bulldog 198
  • Eighteen - Twelve- + Twelve 206
  • Nineteen - A Dry Season 221
  • Twenty - Schnecks 234
  • Thirty- Other Distinguished Stories 243
  • Contributors 245
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