My 5000-word review of Andrew Forbes’s excellent short story collection What You Need is now available here thanks to the good folks of The Puritan’s nonfiction department. Includes bonus desert content:
The shirtless boy had earlier shown me a snakeskin nailed to a board. It was roadkill, he said. The skin was in good shape; clean edges, no tears. The tires had just made the snake flatter, perhaps doing all the flattening work required for skinning and mounting before the boy’s mother’s friend even happened upon it. The boy’s mother had promised to have it turned into a band for the boy’s cowboy hat. Now the boy offered me his BB gun.
I had been left behind by the other wedding guests at the Pioneertown Motel, so I appreciated his company. I was the taxi marshal for the wedding, which was going to take place shortly at Rimrock Ranch, about ten minutes’ drive away. There had been confusion over who was supposed to be in which taxi, and not enough seats for everyone in the final trip, so I volunteered to stay behind and wait for the driver to come back for me. The taxi marshal always stayed at the motel. Vultures circled above; real vultures, real circles. The boy was shooting at real cans on a real fence with his BB gun, which, even if it wasn’t a real firearm, was a real BB gun. Stage left was a garden of cacti and stage right was a covered wagon.