How It Is

“We got caught in a cold rain. The wet ran off my hat and straight down my collar.

—Goddam it! You got a Lucifer?

Lighting his damp hand-rolled under the sheltering brim. The ponies puff out clouds and stamp their feet. He looks hard at my hand that holds the match, so I explain:

—Shot my own hand once, saving my daddy. Got no web to hold my thumb on now.”


People have mentioned to me that the range of voices in this collection is pretty broad. I wrote all the stories, and, in the writing, all of the characters felt like intimates. This 18th century cowboy hangman riding the prairie has stayed with me, though. He is never very far away. I sometimes fall in love with the characters who show up.


This here story is for Joshua Meissner, author of the Broken X Trilogy.