A short story with apologies to Raymond Carver
The first snow lay rigid on the ground as a posse of men in check shirts moved stealthily around the frame and tar paper buildings of our town.
Who’s they, Pa? I asked.
Them’s dee-vor-cees, Son, my Pappy said, spitting a great gob of chewin’ tobacco across our porch, hitting my Mama, an angular-framed silent woman, square in the face.
What’s they lookin’ for, Pappy? I asked.
Love, he replied, eyes wistfully on the middle distance, they ain’t got none.
Gee, Pa, that’s sure tough, I sighed, but who’s that other posse at Cheever’s store?
That’s the critics, my Pappy said to the sunset, they’s a-here to pick the bones.
Is that good, Pappy? I asked, my voice incised like the Chinook north-wester.
Don’t reckon it is, Pa said, but it’s good for book sales so we tolerates it.