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Thursday, November 18, 2010

A small taste

This is an excerpt from a story that originally appeared in Thema. The theme for the edition was "Written in Stone."

The meteor shower delighted people all over the world and left scientists scratching their heads.  On any given night, a lot more yakking than playing went on at the Jericho County Bingo Hall, but it was particularly bad after the meteors.  Sometimes it would take all night just to finish a round. 
“So what do you think, college boy?” 
They call me college boy since I got out of Jericho long enough to get in a year at Browery University.  Course, my dad got sick shortly after and I had to come home.  I’d been calling bingo every Tuesday and Thursday since, along with working the lunch rush at the diner and evenings at the car wash.  But the nickname had stuck. 
“B-7,” I called, my eyes wandering the room, watching for someone to raise their hand and yell.  It was really more of a stalling technique.  The only four players were clustered at the table directly in front of me.  The whole rest of the hall was nothing but empty chairs.  Well, not quite.  There was an old church pew at the back of the hall, and Bobby Slavey was curled up on it, sleeping off his latest drunk.  Every now and then, he’d let out a really loud snore that would echo through the hall.  We were used to it. 

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One thing I really like about this story is it's folksy tone. I find that I write a lot of stories with down-to-earth, wry characters. A lot of them end up being from the South, and they're usually auto mechanics, bingo callers, waitresses . . . blue-collar, unflappable sorts, the kind of people who would know just what kind of chemicals you'd need to get the giant octopus's radioactive slime off your car without stripping the finish. And they'd never bat an eye about it, either.

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