Page 1


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 


i



ii
 



The Oklahoma Review Volume 16: Issue 2, Fall 2015

Published by: Cameron University Department of English and Foreign Languages 


iii



Staff
 Editor
in
Chief
DR.
BAYARD
 GODSAVE
Faculty
Editors
GEORGE
 McCORMICK,
,
DR.
JOHN
 HODGSON,
DR.
HARDY
JONES
&
 DR.
JOHN
G.
MORRIS
Student
Editors
 CORRINE
BINNINGS
&
NICK
BRUSH
 Web
Design
ELIA
MEREL
&
HAILEY
 HARRIS

 Layout
DR.
BAYARD
GODSAVE
 Mission
Statement
 The
Oklahoma
Review
is
an
electronic
literary
 magazine
 published
 through
 the
 Department
 of
 English
 at
 Cameron
 University
 in
 Lawton,
 Oklahoma.
 The
 editorial
 board
 consists
 of
 English
 and
 Professional
 Writing
 undergraduates,
 as
 well
 as
 faculty
 advisors
 from
 the
 Departments
 of
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 and
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 Languages
&
Journalism.
 The
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 is
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 The
 magazine’s
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 is
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 the
 pleasures
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 The
Staff
 The
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The
Oklahoma
Review
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 University,
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 of
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Oklahoma
Review
or
the
authors.
 
 
 


iv
 



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Submissions
 The
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Table of Contents Cover Art Sarah Nguyen, detail from “Great-Grandma”

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish 11 “Like a Fire on Dry Grass”

Chris Warren 29 “Ernest Hemingway in the Yellowstone High Country”

Jason Christian 57 “American Waste”

Kate Daloz 85 “Near Death: On ‘Bodies: The Exhibition’”

Images 92 93 94 95 96

Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah Sarah

Nguyen, Nguyen, Nguyen, Nguyen, Nguyen,

“Emily” “Great-Grandma” “Urizen” “Jerusalem” “Woman Waiting”

Interview 100 George McCormick, “Her Nightly Torturer”: An Interview with LeAnne Howe

Reviews 102 Bayard Godsave, A Review of The Poets Laureate of Oklahoma, Edited by Shawn Holliday 


5



103 Nick Brush, A Review of Jenny Yang Cropp’s String Theory 107 George McCormick, A Review of Jerry Gebriel’s The Let Go

Contributors 







108 
 
 
 
 
 
 


6
 


Contributor’s Page


7



Jeanetta
 Calhoun
 Mish



 8
 



“Like
a
Fire
 on
Dry
 Grass”



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 


9



10
 



Through
the
bloody
September
twilight,
aftermath
of
sixty‐two
rainless
days,
it
had
gone
 like
 a
 fire
 in
 dry
 grass,
 the
 rumor,
 the
 story,
 whatever
 it
 was.
 Something
 about
 Miss
 Minnie
Cooper
and
a
Negro.

 —from
“Dry
September”
by
Wm.
Faulkner

 
 Another
Negro
Is
Strung
Up

 Summary
 punishment
 for
 the
 killing
 of
 a
 Seminole
 county
 deputy
 sheriff
 was
 meted
 to
 John
 Cudjo,
 negro,
 about
 30
 years
 of
 age,
 when
 a
 mob
 of
 Wewoka
 and
 Holdenville
 citizens
 hanged
 the
 black
 to
 a
 telephone
 pole
 in
 front
 of
 the
 county
 courthouse
 in
 Wewoka.

 




After
being
drawn
up,
with
a
rope
around
his
neck,
more
than
100
shots
were
fired
into
 the
 body
 of
 the
 negro.
 The
 mob,
 believed
 to
 have
 contained
 more
 than
 300
 men
 all
 unmasked,
then
quietly
dispersed
and
the
town
was
quiet.


 —Cleveland
County
Enterprise,
11/13/1913

 
 My
 hometown,
 Wewoka,
 Oklahoma,
 seat
 of
 Seminole
 County,
 was
 founded
 by
 John
 Horse,
 a
 black
 Seminole,
 who,
 in
 1849,
 established
 the
 first
 historical
 permanent
 settlement
 in
 the
area.
In
1913,
another
black
Seminole,
John
Cudjo,
was
lynched
in
front
of
the
courthouse
by
 a
 mob
 with
 so
 little
 fear
 of
 legal
 repercussions,
 that
 no
 one
 wore
 masks.
 Despite
 Oklahoma’s
 long
and
ignominious
history
of
lynchings,
I
had
never
heard
anything
about
a
lynching
in
my
 hometown
 until
 one
 afternoon
 in
 2013,
 as
 I
 was
 searching
 “Wewoka”
 in
 pre‐
 1930s
 online
 newspaper
 archives;
 among
 the
 search
 results
 was
 a
 front‐page
 headline
 from
 a
 neighboring
 town's
news‐
paper
that
crowed
“Another
Negro
Is
Strung
Up.”

 A
year
and
a
half
later,
I
now
know
there
were
153
documented
lynchings
in
hometowns
 across
 the
 state.
 According
 to
 Charles
 N.
 Clark’s
 Lynchings
 in
 Oklahoma,
 there
 were
 111
 lynchings
 in
 the
 Twin
 Territories
 from
 1830
 to
 1907.
 Sixty‐one
 of
 the
 lynchings
 took
 place
 in
 Indian
 Terri‐
 tory,
 50
 in
 Oklahoma
 Territory.
 Of
 the
 victims,
 70
 were
 white,
 18
 were
 black,
 15
 were
 Native
 American,
 2
 were
 “Mexican,”
 and
 6
 were
 of
 unknown
 or
 unrecorded
 race.
 The
 majority
 of
 lynchings
 during
 the
 Twin
 Territory
 era
 were
 for
 murder,
 horse
 theft
 (lynchings
 mostly
 perpetrated
 by
 the
 Anti‐Horse‐
 Thief
 Association),
 and
 “unknown
 reasons.”
 After
 statehood
(1907),
there
were
42
lynchings:
35
black
people,
7
white.
Thirty‐three
lynchings
were
 justified
 by
 murder
 accusations,
 6
 by
 rape
 and
 assault
 accusations,
 1
 as
 the
 result
 of
 a
 labor
 dispute,
and
2
for
violations
of
Sundowner
Laws.

 
 


11



Editor
Questioned

 But
on
the
other
hand,
we
do
not
believe
it
is
right
to
take
a
life
before
a
fair
trial
at
law,
 when
a
suspect
is
captured
without.
We
realize
that
the
white
man
is
master
of
this
world
 and
in
proportion
as
he
metes
out
justice
will
his
kingdom
stand
and
in
proportion
as
he
 minimizes
justice
will
his
kingdom
perish.

 —Editorial
on
the
Cudjo
lynching
by
M.W.
Williams,

 The
Wewoka
and
Lima
Courier,
newspaper
of
the
all‐black
 
town
of
Lima,
12
miles
west
of
Wewoka,
11/
14/1913.

 
 Statistics
on
Oklahoma
lynchings
reveal
the
shift
from
the
victim‐ratio
of
almost
4‐1
white
 to
black
and
5‐1
white
to
Native
American
before
statehood
to
a
ratio
of
5
blacks
to
1
white
after
 statehood.
When
their
plans
to
enshrine
Jim
Crow
in
Oklahoma’s
constitution
was
frustrated
by
 fears
that
the
constitution
would
be
rejected
by
the
federal
government,
state
politicians
passed
 a
Jim
Crow
law
on
December
18,
1907,
a
mere
month
and
two
days
after
statehood
was
granted.
 Among
 the
 statutes
 in
 Senate
 Bill
 1
 is
 the
 definition
 of
 “negroes,”
 as
 follows:
 “all
 persons
 of
 African
descent
are
negroes,
while
all
other
persons
are
whites,
thus,
for
legal
purposes,
limiting
 our
 population
 to
 two
 races,
 and
 including
 the
 native
 American
 or
 Indian
 population
 and
 all
 other
races,
except
the
negroes,
as
white
persons”
(qtd
in
Loudenbeck).

 Those
 not
 from
 Oklahoma
 may
 find
 it
 puzzling
 that
 Indians
 were
 included
 as
 white
 in
 Senate
 Bill
 1,
 but
 in
 doing
 so,
 legislators
 acknowledged
 four
 of
 the
 Five
 Civilized
 Tribes
 (Chickasaw,
Creek,
Cherokee,
and
Choctaw)
were
slaveholders
before
the
Civil
War.
Moreover,
 according
 to
 contemporaneous
 news
 articles
 shared
 at
 Doug
 Loudenbeck’s
 Oklahoma
 City
 History
 blog,
 the
 bill
 gained
 a
 large
 measure
 of
 its
 support
 among
 voters
 by
 reminding
 whites
 that,
 after
 the
 civil
 war,
 slaveholding
 Oklahoma‐based
 Indians
 were
 forced
 by
 the
 federal
 government
to
grant
their
former
slaves
full
citizenship
and
to
share
tribal
lands
and
funds
with
 former
slaves
remaining
in
their
communities.
Southern
Indians’
relationships
to
descendants
of
 freedmen
are
still
contentious
for
some
tribes
today,
like
the
Cherokees,
who,
in
a
series
of
tribal
 decisions
 beginning
 in
 1983,
 rescinded
 the
 tribal
 rights
 and
 enrollment
 of
 the
 descendants
 of
 Cherokee
freedmen.

 Additional
 fuel
 was
 added
 to
 the
 state’s
 official
 Jim
 Crow
 stance
 by
 the
 popularity
 and
 (political)
 power
 of
 the
 Ku
 Klux
 Klan;
 historian
 Danney
 Goble
 asserts
 that,
 in
 the
 early
 1920s,
 “150,000
Oklahomans
loyally
paid
their
membership
dues”
to
the
Klan
(164).
Given
that
only
the
 500,000
or
so
white
adult
male
citizens
were
eligible
for
membership,
as
many
as
3
in
every
10
 adult
white
males
in
Oklahoma
were
likely
members
of
the
Klan.

 
 
 
 12
 



Woman
Lynched
by
Side
of
Son

 Mary
 Nelson,
 negress,
 and
 her
 son,
 18
 years
 old,
 were
 taken
 out
 of
 the
 county
 jail
 of
 Okfuskee
 county,
 at
 Okemah,
 Wednesday
 midnight,
 and
 hanged
 to
 the
 timbers
 of
 a
 bridge
over
the
North
Canadian
river,
six
miles
away.

 —The
Shawnee
News,
11/
26/1911

 
 O,
don't
kill
my
baby
and
my
son,
 O
,
don't
kill
my
baby
and
my
son.
 You
can
stretch
my
neck
on
that
old
river
bridge,

 But
don't
kill
my
baby
and
my
son.

 —Woody
Guthrie,
1948

 
 One
of
the
most
infamous,
nationally‐recognized
Oklahoma
lynchings
occurred
on
May
 25,
 1911,
 the
 next
 county
 up
 from
 mine,
 in
 Woody
 Guthrie's
 hometown
 of
 Okemah.
 A
 woman,
 Laura
Nelson
and
her
son,
J.D.,
were
lynched
off
a
bridge,
left
to
dangle
and
spin
from
stiff
new‐ rope
nooses.
Despite
news
reports,
and,
according
the
US
Census,
JD
was
only
14,
not
18.
Laura
 had
 at
 least
 one
 other
 child,
 a
 two
 year
 old
 named
 Carrie,
 and
 other
 reports
 also
 mention
 a
 newborn.
According
to
some
eyewitness
reports,
Carrie
survived
but
the
baby
was
thrown
into
 the
river.

 Woody
 Guthrie
 wrote
 a
 song
 about
 the
 Nelson
 lynching—it
 is
 rumored
 his
 own
 father
 was
 involved—and
 by
 the
 time
 Woody
 wrote
 the
 song
 in
 1948,
 he
 had
 rid
 himself
 of
 any
 lingering
 Okie‐style
 racism
 and
 the
 song
 remains
 a
 mournful
 protest,
 along
 with
 several
 other
 Guthrie
songs
condemning
lynching.

 In
2002,
Terrence
Hayes
published
“A
Postcard
from
Okemah,”
a
poem
about
the
Nelson
 lynching
and
the
postcard
that
memorialized
it.
You
can
see
the
postcard,
if
you’re
so
inclined,
 at
the
Without
Sanctuary
website.
I
can’t
bear
to
reprint
it
here.
Here
are
the
last
three
stanzas
 of
Hayes’s
poem:

 
 Now
all
of
Okemah,
Oklahoma,
is
hushed.

 Now
even
the
children
in
attendance
are
dead.

 After
that
day
in
1911,
it
did
not
rain
again.
 To
believe
in
God,
this
is
the
reckoning
I
claim.

 
 It
is
a
Monday
morning
years
too
late.
 All
the
rocking
chairs
&
shopping
carts,

 all
the
mailboxes
&
choir
pews
are
empty.

 I
cannot
hear
the
psalms
of
salvation

 


13



or
forgiveness,
the
gospel
of
Mercy.
 I
cannot
ask
who
is
left
more
disfigured:
 the
ones
who
are
beaten
or
the
ones
who
beat;

 the
ones
who
are
hung
or
the
ones
who
hang.

 
 Hayes’s
question,
“who
is
left
more
disfigured,”
haunts
me.
I
don’t
know
if
any
of
my
kin
 participated
 in
 Oklahoma
 lynchings
 or
 watched
 them
 as
 if
 they
 were
 tent‐dramas
 or
 traveling
 circuses.
 It
 is
 possible
 that
 they
 did.
 Certainly,
 my
 home
 state
 still
 displays
 its
 disfigured
 soul,
 electing
politicians
who
write
and
pass
bills
to
make
it
legal
for
businesses
to
refuse
service
to
 gay
 and
 lesbian
 people,
 to
 allow
 only
 people
 “of
 faith”
 to
 marry,
 and
 to
 refuse
 “that
 Obama’s”
 healthcare
 plan
 and
 its
 Medicaid
 extension
 while
 at
 the
 same
 time
 cutting
 social
 services
 and
 refusing
to
require
schools
to
install
tornado
shelters,
and
this
after
the
May
2013
tornado
when
 several
children
drowned
while
taking
refuge
from
a
storm
in
a
school
basement.
This
essay
is
a
 reckoning
of
the
extent
of
my
state’s
and
my
own
disfigurement,
the
many
ways
in
which
race
 and
race
relations
in
America,
in
Oklahoma,
and
in
my
own
life
are
still
complex,
difficult,
and
 existentially
important.

 
 Seminole
Burning

 Spurred
 by
 the
 murder
 of
 a
 white
 woman
 by
 an
 Indian,
 a
 mob
 invaded
 the
 Seminole
 Nation
and
terrorized
Seminole
men
and
boys
for
more
than
a
week
before
selecting
two,
 who
 they
 took
 across
 the
 territorial
 boundary
 into
 Oklahoma
 to
 burn
 at
 the
 stake
 in
 a
 Baptist
tabernacle
a
short
distance
southwest
of
Maud
(Littlefield,
4).

 
 In
the
Twin
Territories
(pre‐statehood),
Native
Americans
were
almost
as
likely
as
African
 Americans
 to
 become
 the
 victims
 of
 lynching.
 Tensions
 were
 high
 between
 white
 settlers
 and
 tribal
 people,
 particularly
 in
 the
 border
 towns,
 and
 particularly
 in
 the
 Seminole
 Nation
 (later
 Seminole
 County).
 Part
 of
 the
 tension
 resulted
 from
 the
 recently‐passed
 Dawes
 Act
 which
 eliminated
tribal
ownership
of
land
and,
instead,
divided
tribal
land
into
individual
allotments,
 giving
 the
 “surplus”
 to
 whites.
 Whites
 resented
 Natives
 for
 holding
 land
 which
 they
 felt
 was
 underutilized;
they
considered
Indians
barbaric
and
lazy.
Indians
resented
the
whites
living
on
 land
that
was
promised
to
them.
Those
tensions
exploded
on
December
30,
1897,
near
the
border
 of
 Seminole
 Nation,
 just
 east
 of
 the
 settlement
 of
 Maud,
 Oklahoma
 Territory,
 when
 an
 Indian
 man
 killed
 Mary
 Leard
 and
 harassed
 her
 children
 while
 her
 husband
 was
 gone
 to
 Oklahoma
 Territory
(six
miles
away)
to
help
his
brother
harvest
corn.
Although
there
was
no
evidence
that
 the
 man
 who
 killed
 Mary
 Leard
 was
 a
 Seminole,
 the
 tribe
 was
 the
 closest
 in
 proximity
 to
 the
 crime.
 Therefore,
 a
 mob
 rode
 into
 the
 Seminole
 Nation
 to
 extract
 revenge,
 detaining,
 interrogating,
 and
 torturing
 Seminole
 men
 and
 boys,
 despite
 the
 fact
 that
 none
 of
 them
 answered
 to
 the
 description
 of
 the
 murderer
 given
 by
 Leard’s
 children.
 After
 a
 week
 of
 unsuccessfully
 hunting
 for
 the
 man
 who
 killed
 Mary
 Leard,
 the
 mob,
 kept
 agitated
 by
 Leard's


14
 



husband
 and
 other
 relatives,
 decided
 that
 it
 “would
 burn
 someone”
 to
 extract
 revenge
 for
 the
 crime
(Littlefield
62).

 Around
three
a.m.
on
Friday,
January
7,
1897,
with
the
approval
of
a
crowd
of
125
or
more
 men,
Lincoln
McGeisey
(age
unknown;
he
is
referred
to
in
most
accounts
as
“a
boy”
or
“grown
 son”)
and
Palmer
Sampson,
age
17,
were
burned
alive.

 The
 murder
 of
 the
 two
 innocent
 teenagers
 led
 to
 the
 “first
 successful
 prosecution
 of
 lynchers
 in
 the
 American
 Southwest”
 (Littlefield
 170).
 Sixty‐one
 people
 were
 arrested,
 nine
 received
jail
sentences,
one
received
a
prison
sentence.
The
federal
government
paid
$13,078.75
 in
 restitution
 to
 21
 Seminoles
 for
 personal
 injuries,
 property
 loss,
 false
 arrest,
 and
 deprivation.
 Unfortunately,
 there
 would
 be
 no
 more
 successful
 lynching
 prosecutions
 in
 Oklahoma
 until
 1922.
The
last
documented
lynching
in
Oklahoma
took
place
in
the
town
of
Chickasha
in
1930,
33
 years
after
the
Seminole
burnings.
Seventeen
men
were
“charged
with
murder,
inciting
to
riot,
 and
destruction
of
property”
for
the
last
lynching
in
Oklahoma;
however,
“the
case
never
made
it
 to
trial
and
the
incident
was
shelved”
(Clark
130).

 As
I
write
this
section
on
the
Seminole
burnings,
I
remember
that
I
went
to
school
with,
 and
 played
 on
 the
 WHS
 basketball
 team
 with,
 Seminole
 students
 named
 McGeisey,
 Sampson,
 Harjo,
Palmer,
Tiger,
Coker,
Wolf—all
family
names
listed
as
receiving
compensation
for
injuries
 in
connection
with
the
lynching
of
McGeisey
and
Sampson.
As
is
the
case
for
many
athletes,
our
 Lady
 Tigers'
 locker
 room
 was
 the
 scene
 of
 interracial
 cooperation,
 perhaps
 the
 most
 intimate
 multi‐racial
 space
 many
 of
 us
 will
 ever
 experience,
 where,
 in
 various
 states
 of
 undress,
 black,
 white,
 Indian,
 and
 mixed‐blood
 girls
 sweated,
 swore,
 joked,
 teased,
 and
 discussed
 tv
 shows,
 music,
make‐up,
and
boys.

 
 Lynching

 In
addition
to
lynching,
racial
violence
had
other
manifestations.
One
was
the
“whipping
 party,”
 in
 which
 a
 large
 group
 of
 whites
 whipped
 or
 beat
 a
 black
 person
 who
 was
 suspected
 of
 an
 offense
 of
 some
 kind.
 In
 1922
 alone,
 according
 to
 Oklahoma
 Gov.
 Jack
 Walton,
2,500
whippings
took
place.
 




Occurring
in
nearly
a
dozen
Oklahoma
communities
around
the
turn
of
the
century,
a
 riot's
 usual
 purpose
 was
 to
 run
 the
 blacks
 out
 of
 town.
 Interracial
 violence
 occurred
 in
 Berwyn
in
1895,
Lawton
in
1902,
and
Boynton
in
1904.
In
Henryetta
in
1907,
whites
burned
 the
 black
 residential
 district
 and
 established
 a
 ‘sundowner’
 law,
 and
 in
 Dewey
 in
 1917
 a
 similar
incident
occurred.

 —Everett

 
 Lynching
is
a
term
that
covers
a
multitude
of
sins;
there
does
not
have
to
be
a
rope
for
 there
to
be
a
lynching,
since
the
term
in
its
most
general
sense
refers
to
extra‐legal
action
against
 a
 person
 or
 groups
 of
 people.
 Hangings,
 home
 and
 barn
 burnings,
 “nightriding,”
 whippings,
 tarring
 and
 feathering—all
 of
 these
 illegally‐applied
 punishments
 can
 fall
 under
 the
 general
 heading
of
lynching.
Then,
there
are
“mass”
lynchings,
also
often
called
“race
riots.”
According
to
 


15



Clark's
 Lynchings
 in
 Oklahoma,
 in
 addition
 to
 the
 ones
 Everett
 mentions,
 mass
 lynchings
 also
 occurred
in
1901
in
Pierce,
(Eufaula
District
of
the
Creek
Nation,
IT)
and
around
the
same
time
in
 Rosedale
 (McClain
 County,
 Chickasaw
 Nation,
 IT).
 Records
 of
 both
 these
 mass
 lynchings
 are
 scarce,
and
in
the
case
of
the
Rosedale
mass
lynching,
only
one
oral
history
of
the
event
exists.

 Unlike
 the
 Pierce
 and
 Rosedale
 mass
 lynchings,
 the
 event
 usually
 called
 the
 Tulsa
 Race
 Riot
 is
 extremely
 well
 documented.
 On
 Tuesday
 May
 31,
 1921,
 whipped
 into
 a
 frenzy
 by
 an
 unsubstantiated
 report
 that
 a
 young
 black
 man,
 Dick
 Rowland,
 had
 assaulted
 a
 young
 white
 woman
on
the
elevator
he
operated,
whites
invaded
the
Greenwood
neighborhood,
known
at
the
 time
as
“Black
Wall
Street,”
killing
people
and
burning
homes
and
businesses
along
the
way.
At
 one
point,
a
machine
gun
was
mounted
on
a
flatbed
rail
car,
hitched
to
an
engine,
and
pulled
 slowly
through
the
area,
in
order
to
more
efficiently
terrorize
the
community.
It's
estimated
that,
 during
the
16
hours
of
the
assault
on
the
people
of
Greenwood,
10,000
blacks
were
left
homeless,
 35
city
blocks
and
1,256
residences
were
destroyed
by
fire.
The
number
of
deaths
has
never
been
 rectified:
the
official
count
of
black
people
killed
during
the
riot
was
39;
estimates
of
the
actual
 death
toll
range
from
55‐300.

 Earlier,
in
1907,
Henryetta,
Oklahoma,
managed
to
squeeze
in
both
a
lynching
and
a
race
 riot
 in
 response
 to
 one
 incident.
 First,
 a
 black
 man
 named
 James
 Garden
 was
 lynched
 for
 the
 murder
of
liveryman
Albert
Bates,
and
soon
therafter,
according
to
an
oral
history
collected
from
 Anna
 McMahan,
 Bates’s
 widow,
 the
 entire
 black
 population
 population
 of
 Henryetta
 was
 “encouraged”
to
leave
town
by
roving
white
gangs
led
by
the
mayor,
Dr.
W.C.
Sanderson,
who
 “talked
real
loud
to
the
negroes
and
ordered
them
out
of
town
before
sundown.
Some
of
them
 left
right
then
but
others
stayed
a
while.
Several
shacks
were
burned
that
night
and
they
were
 made
to
understand
the
White
(sic)
people
meant
business”
(McMahan).

 As
recently
as
the
1980s,
a
“Nigger
Don’t
Let
The
Sun
Set
On
You
In
This
Town!”
sign
still
 stood
on
Old
Highway
62
at
the
western
city
limits
of
Henryetta.
I
have
seen
it
myself.

 
 Prominent
Citizen
Killed

 From
all
information
at
hand,
it
seems
that
a
crowd
of
about
seven
boys
went
to
the
hotel
 about
8:30
Monday
evening
for
the
purpose
of
running
the
negro
out
of
town.

 —Marlow
Review,
December
20,
1923

 
 From
 historical
 accounts,
 it
 appears
 that
 Albert
 W.
 Berch,
 a
 white
 man,
 and
 John
 Jernigan,
a
black
man,
were
murdered
for
violation
of
a
Sundowner
Law,
which,
like
Henryetta’s
 post‐riot
ordinance,
would
not
allow
black
folks
in
town
past
sundown.
These
laws
allowed
for
 exploitation
of
black
labor,
while
at
the
same
time
prevented
black
people
from
living
in
the
city
 limits.
 Lynching,
 whippings,
 and
 other
 punishments
 for
 violation
 of
 Sundowner
 Laws
 can
 be
 translated
to
contemporary
terms
as
“walking
while
black
after
dark”
inside
the
city
limits
which,
 in
 Marlow,
 OK,
 resulted
 in
 the
 shooting
 death
 of
 Berch
 and
 Jernigan.
 Mr.
 Berch
 was
 the
 proprietor
of
the
Johnson
Hotel
in
Marlow;
Mr.
Jernigan
was
his
porter.
A
“gang”
of
seven
young
 men
 entered
 the
 hotel
 “for
 the
 purpose
 of
 running
 the
 negro
 out
 of
 town”
 (Marlow
 Review).
 16
 



When
 Mr.
 Berch
 entered
 the
 hotel
 lobby,
 he
 was
 “shot
 through
 the
 heart
 and
 died
 instantly”;
 then,
 “his
 assailant
 turned
 and
 directed
 his
 fire
 upon
 the
 negro.”
 According
 to
 the
 Sandusky
 (Ohio)
Star‐Journal,
the
gang
was
“attempting
to
force
Berch
to
discharge
the
negro.
Anonymous
 warning
had
been
received
by
Jernigan
ordering
him
to
leave
town.”

 
 Negro
Assailant
Lynched
at
the
Scene
of
the
Outrage

 On
 Sunday
 the
 entire
 country
 north
 of
 the
 Rock
 Island
 was
 being
 searched,
 a
 large
 number
 of
 negroes
 from
 Wewoka
 and
 other
 points
 joining
 the
 drive.
 [
 .
 .
 .
 ]
 (Henry)
 Conley’s
wife,
with
whom
he
fled
from
Seminole
county
last
Saturday
night,
was
located
 at
Mill
Creek,
just
north
of
Ravia,
on
Thursday.
She
is
said
to
have
declared
that
Conley
 had
committed
similar
crimes
before
and
made
her
help
him
to
get
away.

 —The
Shawnee
Daily
News‐Herald,
11/17/1917

 
 I
 was
 half‐way
 through
 the
 final
 draft
 of
 this
 essay
 when
 a
 friend
 from
 my
 hometown,
 another
writer
and
an
accomplished
amateur
local
historian,
contacted
me
to
say
that
he’d
heard
 from
a
couple
of
old
men
that
there
was
another
lynching
in
our
town
in
1917,
four
years
after
 the
 Cudjo
 lynching.
 After
 checking
 Lynching
 in
 Oklahoma,
 I
 found
 a
 1917
 lynching
 listed
 as
 occurring
 in
 Holdenville,
 six
 miles
 away.
 Returning
 to
 the
 newspaper
 archive,
 I
 searched
 for
 “Henry
Conley,”
the
man
who
was
named
as
lynched
in
Holdenville
for
the
rape
of
Mrs.
Jessee
 Burford,
a
Wewoka
resident.

 According
to
contemporaneous
newspaper
accounts,
while
Conley
had
been
returned
to
 Holdenville
on
the
train
after
being
captured
in
another
county,
the
posse
that
spirited
him
away
 from
the
depot
was
composed
of
Wewokans,
and
he
was
hanged
in
Wewoka,
at
the
home
of
the
 woman
he
was
accused
of
raping.
According
to
one
man
who
was
a
child
at
the
time
and
who
 witnessed
 the
 proceedings,
 Conley
 was
 “paraded”
 in
 an
 open
 wagon
 up
 Highway
 56
 from
 Holdenville
to
Wewoka
then
north
of
town
six
miles
to
the
Burford’s
farm
where
the
posse
hung
 him
 from
a
 tree
 and
 fired
 shots
into
 his
body.
 One
 of
the
 elderly
 gentlemen
 who
confessed
to
 this
second
Wewoka
lynching
was
a
young
judge
in
1917.
He
told
my
friend
that
someone
came
 to
his
house
and
asked
him
if
he
wanted
to
stop
the
lynching.
He
said
he
would
deal
with
it
later;
 when
he
got
around
to
doing
something,
the
lynching
had
already
occurred.

 On
his
deathbed,
the
old
judge
said
his
lack
of
action
was
his
greatest
regret.

 
 OU
 President
 David
 Boren
 Expels
 Two
 Students
 for
 Involvement
 in
 Racist
 Video
 University
 of
 Oklahoma
 President
 David
 Boren
 has
 expelled
 two
 students
 identified
 as
 leaders
in
a
racist
chant
video
recorded
at
an
SAE
fraternity
event.

 —KOCO.com,
3/10/2015

 
 In
the
years
between
Oklahoma’s
last
documented
lynching
in
1930
and
my
birth
in
1961,
 the
Civil
Rights
Movement
fomented
changes
in
Oklahoma
as
it
did
in
the
rest
of
the
country.
In
 1946,
willing
to
endure
years
of
delay
to
her
career
in
order
to
bring
Oklahoma’s
discriminatory
 


17



practices
 to
 the
 courts,
 Ada
 Lois
 Sipuel
 (Fisher)
 applied
 to
 law
 school
 at
 the
 University
 of
 Oklahoma.
She
was
denied
because
of
race.
In
1948,
the
US
Supreme
Court
ruled
that
the
state
 of
Oklahoma
must
provide
instruction
for
blacks
equal
to
that
of
whites.
In
response,
the
state
 created
a
law
school
at
historically‐black
Langston
University,
but
further
litigation
proved
that
 the
 hastily‐instituted
 law
 school
 was
 “inferior”
 to
 the
 OU
 School
 of
 law
 and
 therefore
 not
 an
 equal
educational
opportunity.
OU
was
forced
to
admit
Sipuel
in
1949;
she
sat
in
a
chair
marked
 “colored”
 that
 was
 blocked
 off
 by
 a
 chain
 from
 the
 white
 students.
 George
 McLauren,
 a
 black
 man
seeking
admission
to
OU’s
graduate
school
in
1948,
faced
a
similar
struggle;
initially
denied
 admittance
because
of
his
race,
after
a
court
case,
he
gained
admittance
although,
like
Sipuel,
he
 was
required
to
study
in
a
separated
area
within
the
law
library
and
to
eat
lunch
in
segregation.

 Such
 courage
 they
 showed,
 Sipuel
 and
 McLauren,
 matriculating
 at
 OU,
 where,
 just
 24
 years
 earlier,
 Edwin
 C.
 DeBarr,
 one
 of
 the
 four
 founding
 faculty
 members,
 first
 head
 of
 the
 Department
of
Chemistry,
and,
later,
Vice‐President
of
the
University,
also
served
as
the
Grand
 Dragon
of
the
Oklahoma
Realm
of
the
Imperial
Knights
of
the
Ku
Klux
Klan.

 
 Oklahoma
City
African
Americans
Sit‐in
for
Integration,
1958‐64
 They
sat
quietly
at
the
lunch
counter
and
ordered
their
Cokes.
When
they
were
refused
 service,
they
continued
to
sit
in
silence
as
the
surrounding
white
customers
unleashed
a
 wave
of
threats
and
racial
slurs.
The
manager
called
the
police,
who
arrived
and
hovered
 over
the
children
as
the
crowd
of
hecklers
grew
in
size.

 —Global
Nonviolent
Action
Database

 
 In
 August
 1958,
 Clara
 Luper,
 an
 African‐American
 public
 school
 teacher
 director
 of
 the
 local
 NAACP
 Youth
 Council,
 took
 13
 children,
 ages
 6‐13,
 to
 the
 segregated
 lunch
 counter
 of
 Katz’s
Drug
in
downtown
Oklahoma
City.
It
took
two
days
of
sitting
at
the
counter
in
shifts,
two
 days
of
harassment,
two
days
of
courage
and
fear,
before
an
employee
served
one
of
the
children
 a
 hamburger.
 In
 1968,
 Hannah
 Diggs
 Atkins
 was
 elected
 Oklahoma’s
 first
 female
 African
 American
legislator.
In
1952,
Oklahoma
City
native
Ralph
Ellison,
who
grew
up
not
too
far
from
 Katz's
Drug,
published
Invisible
Man.

 My
hometown
schools
began
the
integration
process
by
integrating
the
sports
teams
first,
 beginning
in
the
fall
of
1957
when
my
youngest
uncle
was
a
sophomore.
According
to
my
uncle,
 “We,
 as
 athletes,
 had
 absolutely
 no
 difficulty
 blending.
 The
 blacks
 attended
 Douglas
 High
 and
 we
went
to
Wewoka
High.
Complete
integration
was
accomplished
by
1964.
Your
aunt
indicates
 that
 in
 junior
 high
 some
 limited
 black
 vs.
 white
 problems
 arose,
 primarily
 with
 the
 girls
 challenging
one
another.”

 Yet,
despite
all
this
“progress”
dearly
purchased
with
the
blood,
sweat,
and
tears
of
people
 of
color,
when
Oklahoma
Today
published
its
first
African‐American
issue
in
January
of
2015,
the
 editors
received
hate
mail.

 
 
 18
 



The
Lynching
at
Wewoka

 It
is
true
that
the
white
people
of
this
town
and
neighborhood
hanged
and
fired
about
100
 shots
 with
 pistols
 and
 all
 sorts
 of
 guns
 into
 John
 Cudjo's
 body,
 on
 the
 night
 of
 the
 4th
 inst.,
on
a
telephone
pole
in
front
of
the
courthouse.
We
had
no
trouble
hearing
the
guns
 and
screams
of
white
women,
a
few
of
whom
found
they
could
not
stand
the
ordeal.
The
 wife
of
the
under
sheriff,
whom
John
Cudjo
had
killed
the
previous
Saturday
night,
asked
 that
Cudjo
be
not
burned;
so
the
barrel
of
oil
and
roll
of
cotton
bagging
carried
over
to
 roll
him
in
were
not
used,
but
returned
to
their
owners.

 —The
Crisis
#7,
Journal
of
the
NAACP,
January
1914

 
 When
I
was
growing
up
in
Wewoka
between
1962
and
1979,
the
population
was
5500;
by
 race,
it
was
about
50%
white,
20%
Black,
and
20%
Native
American—the
last
10%,
“Other.”
The
 demographic
 of
 my
 friends
 was
 more
 like
 35%
 white,
 35%
 black,
 and
 20%
 Native
 American— partly
 because
 I
 was
 a
 Head
 Start
 kid
 and
 partly
 because
 I
 was
 often
 uncomfortable
 and
 sometimes
unwelcome
around
the
white,
middle‐class
students
whose
parents
belonged
to
the
 Country
Club.

 Although
 Wewoka
 was
 a
 small
 town,
 we
 had
 a
 black
 community
 center
 and
 a
 white
 community
 center,
 a
 black
 swimming
 pool
 and
 a
 white
 swimming
 pool;
 a
 black
 library
 and
 a
 white
 library.
 In
 all
 things
 except
 school,
 we
 were
 segregated,
 even
 at
 death:
 there
 were
 black
 cemeteries
 and
 white
 cemeteries
 and
 Indian
 cemeteries.
 Where
 did
 the
 Indian
 kids
 fit
 in
 this
 black/white
 schema?
 Well,
 it
 depended.
 Some
 Creeks
 and
 Seminoles,
 since
 they’d
 been
 intermarrying
with
African‐Americans
for
years,
hung
out
with
the
black
kids.
Others
hung
out
 with
 the
 white
 kids,
 especially
 those
 whose
 parents
 were
 middle
 class
 and
 those
 who
 played
 football
 or
 were
 in
 the
 band
 or
 in
 Campfire
 Girls.
 Mostly,
 though,
 the
 Indian
 kids
 stayed
 to
 themselves,
particularly
those
who
came
from
traditional
families.

 Or,
at
least,
that’s
the
way
it
seemed
to
me.
Recently,
I’ve
come
to
realize
that
I
knew
very
 little
 about
 most
 of
 my
 classmates’
 lives,
 other
 than
 the
 handful
 of
 people
 I
 counted
 as
 my
 intimates.
 I
 knew
 that
 my
 best
 girl
 friend,
 the
 one
 who’d
 saved
 me
 on
 my
 first
 day
 of
 kindergarten
 when
 I
 got
 lost
 walking
 down
 to
 the
 Head
 Start
 after
 morning
 classes—
 the
 one
 who,
in
1977,
came
out
as
a
lesbian
in
our
small
rural
town—was
living
on
her
own
during
high
 school,
 in
 the
 trailer
 she’d
 once
 shared
 with
 her
 mother
 and
 half‐brother.
 I
 knew
 that
 a
 boy
 I
 liked
 was
 also
 living
 alone,
 escaping
 an
 abusive
 and
 alcoholic
 father,
 supporting
 himself
 by
 working
in
the
oilfields
on
morning
tower,
from
10pm
to
6am;
after
work,
he
showered,
changed
 clothes
and
went
to
school.
I
was
invited
into
only
one
black
classmate’s
home
the
entire
time
I
 lived
there,
and,
so
long
as
I
was
living
in
my
stepfathers’
house,
I
invited
no
black
classmates.
 There
was
an
unspoken
understanding
that
although
our
generation
might
be
evolving
toward
 more
progressive
race
relations,
our
parents
and
grandparents,
both
black
and
white,
were
not.
 In
high
school,
I
hung
out
mostly
with
“the
heads”:
the
partiers,
the
drinkers,
the
potheads.
I
also
 spent
some
time
“over
to
nigger
town”
as
most
of
my
family
would
say.
I
called
it
the
place
where
 my
 friends
 had
 the
 best
 after‐basketball‐
 and‐football‐game
 dances.
 After
 games,
 the
 white
 


19



middle‐class
kids
all
went
to
some
other
white
middle
class
kid’s
house
to
drink
and
screw.
I
was
 not
invited
and
probably
wouldn't
have
gone
if
I
were.
Home
basketball
and
football
games
were
 Friday,
and
for
a
while,
every
Friday
night
took
me
over
to
the
black
community
center
to
dance
 the
night
away.
I
loved
to
dance,
and
I
needed
lessons,
too,
or
at
least
that’s
what
A.B.
said
the
 first
time
I
danced
with
my
black
friends.

 “All
you
white
girls,”
she
said,
arms
crossed,
shaking
her
head,
“ain’t
none‐uh
you
knows
 how
to
shake
your
booty.”

 A.B.
and
J.
and
T.
and
M.
and
S.
and
A.E.
taught
me
a
complex
version
of
the
Bump
and
 coached
me
in
the
Bus
Stop
and
its
love
child,
the
Hustle,
which
was
enormously
popular
after
 Saturday
Night
Fever
came
out
in
December
1977,
halfway
through
my
junior
year.
I
was
lovingly
 tutored
in
the
black‐girl
groove:
upper
body
mostly
still,
drop
the
hips
with
knees
bent
slightly,
 swing
hips
side
to
side
in
time
to
the
music,
while
the
feet
moved
in
a
circle,
or
shifted
left
and
 right
or
forward
and
back.
The
hips
did
the
work.
It
wasn’t
twerking;
it
was
graceful
and
classy
 and
sexy,
and
worked
with
most
any
song;
it
also
got
me
through
the
jiving
and
hollering
of
a
 show‐off
Stroll.

 
 A
Night
of
Vengeance
in
Wewoka

 Mrs.
 Dennis,
 wife
 of
 the
 murdered
 deputy,
 had
 been
 brought
 downtown
 to
 observe
 the
 public
 spectacle.
 Across
 the
 street
 from
 the
 courthouse
 she
 and
 her
 seven
 (now
 fatherless)
 children
 sat
 in
 the
 front
 office
 of
 the
 Wewoka
 Democrat
 newspaper
 and
 watched
as
her
husband’s
killer
[Cudjo]
was
lynched
and
shot
to
pieces.

 —Butler
185

 
 Most
importantly,
for
my
teenaged
awkward
self,
the
dances
I
learned
didn’t
have
any
of
 those
idiotic
moves
the
rest
of
the
white
kids
were
trying
out
on
their
dates,
no
funky
chicken,
 no
disco
duck.
While
the
girls
were
grooving,
the
black
boys
got
down,
inventing
proto‐break‐ dancing
 by
 combining
 a
 modern
 version
 of
 the
 buck
 and
 the
 straight
 jig
 with
 The
 Worm
 and
 funk‐inspired
popping
and
locking.
We
were
all
influenced
by
Michael
Jackson,
P‐Funk,
Kool
&
 the
 Gang,
 and
 Sly,
 icons
 whose
 sounds
 we
 gorged
 ourselves
 on
 whenever
 we
 had
 a
 chance
 in
 those
pre‐MTV,
pre‐BET
years,
on
The
Jackson
Five
and
later,
The
Jacksons,
and
Soul
Train
and
 The
Midnight
Special
tv
shows.
Shows
I
wasn’t
allowed
to
watch
until
after
my
mother
divorced
 my
 stepfather,
 the
 stepfather
 who
 thought
 All
 in
 the
 Family
 was
 a
 paean
 to
 his
 white‐race‐ superiority
philosophy.
No
“goddamn
nigger
shows”
in
his
house.

 
 Negro
Lynched

 [
.
.
.
]
The
officers
were
overpowered,
after
which
the
negro
was
turned
over
to
a
party
of
 men
and
boys
who
hurried
him
cross‐
country
to
the
home
of
the
woman
[Mrs.
Burford]
 he
was
charged
with
attacking
while
she
was
alone
in
a
cornfield.
En
route
the
crowd
was
 augumented
 (sic.)
 by
 several
 hundred
 men,
 women,
 and
 children
 residents
 of
 Seminole


20
 



and
Hughes
counties.
[
.
.
.]
As
Conley
was
swung
into
the
air
the
victim
of
his
lust
shot
 six
bullets
from
an
automobile
into
his
body.

 —Norman
Daily
Transcript,
6/18/1917

 
 There
 are
 two
 documented
 lynchings
 of
 women
 in
 Oklahoma:
 one,
 Mary
 Nelson,
 the
 other,
 Marie
 Scott
 (Wagoner
 County,
 1914).
 It
 will
 take
 another
 essay
 to
 suss
 out
 the
 complexities
 of
 women’s
 roles
 in
 Oklahoma
 lynchings,
 as
 accusers,
 as
 victims,
 as
 executioners’
 right
 hand,
 as
 avenging
 “angels,”
 as
 wives,
 and
 as
 partners
 and
 family
 members
 suffering
 collateral
damage,
sustaining
the
loss
of
their
husbands
and
sons
and
brothers
and
fathers
and
 often
their
homes
and
livelihoods.

 One
 night
 at
 3am,
 after
 I
 returned
 from
 dancing
 on
 the
 westside,
 the
 phone
 rang
 and
 when
my
mother
answered,
a
male
voice
growled,
“Yor
daughter’s
a
nigger
lover.”

 
 Cudjo
Lynched

 While
the
officers
were
looking
for
Cudjo,
they
met
up
with
Ed
Carolina,
a
negro
who
was
 drunk
and
showed
fight.
He
was
killed
by
some
of
the
officers.
 —The
Okemah
Sledge
Hammer,
(Socialist)
11/06/1913

 
 Two
of
the
friends
I
had
danced
with
the
night
the
phone
call
came
bore
the
last
name
of
 Carolina,
a
family
with
deep
roots
in
our
part
of
Oklahoma.
I
don’t
know
for
sure,
but
I
imagine
 they
are
related
to
Ed
Carolina,
who
was
killed
by
deputies
during
the
Cudjo
manhunt.
I
haven’t
 asked,
afraid
I’ll
hurt
my
friends’
feelings
or
open
old
wounds.
I
did
ask
a
half‐dozen
of
my
male
 and
 female
 black
 childhood
 friends
 that
 I’m
 still
 in
 touch
 with
 if
 they’d
 heard
 of
 the
 Cudjo
 lynching.
I
wondered
if
it
had
been
told
in
the
black
community
as
a
cautionary
tale.
One
of
the
 friends
I
asked,
whose
mother
was
a
Cudjo,
said
that
the
lynching
was
“a
big
family
secret
not
 talked
 about
 around
 the
 kids.”
 Another
 said
 she’d
 heard
 of
 the
 lynching,
 but
 it
 wasn’t
 talked
 about
much.
Two
others
said
they’d
heard
whispers
of
the
Cudjo
lynching
and
of
others,
but
that
 there
was
no
active
oral
transmission.
“It’s
history,”
M.H.
said,
with
a
chorus
of
agreement
from
 the
rest,
“and
we’re
glad
it’s
just
history.”

 
 Another
Lynching
in
Oklahoma

 John
 Cudjo,
 the
 negro
 who
 killed
 Deputy
 Sheriff
 John
 Dennis
 in
 this
 county
 Saturday
 night
was
captured
Tuesday
afternoon,
and
brought
to
this
city
at
about
8
o’clock
when
a
 mob
seized
him
and
hanged
him
to
a
telephone
pole
in
front
of
the
county
court
house.
 After
the
hanging
at
least
one
hundred
shots
were
fired
into
the
negro’s
body.
The
mob
 then
dispersed
very
quietly
and
the
town
is
quiet.

 




A
 large
 placard
 on
 which
 was
 written
 “To
 the
 Memory
 of
 Lee
 Cruce”
 was
 tied
 to
 the
 negro’s
feet
as
his
body
swung
from
the
pole.

 —Tulsa
Star,
African‐American
newspaper,
11/8/1913
 

 


21



Two
 Oklahoma
 lynchings,
 one
 following
 closely
 on
 the
 other,
 were
 used
 not
 only
 to
 satisfy
 the
 perpetrators'
 race
 hatred
 and
 thirst
 for
 vengeance,
 but
 also
 to
 send
 a
 political
 message.
 In
 both
 the
 November
 1913
 lynching
 of
 John
 Cudjo
 in
 Wewoka
 and
 the
 January
 1914
 lynching
 of
 Ben
 Dickerson
 in
 Noble,
 lynchers
 attached
 signs
 to
 the
 dead
 men’s
 bodies
 that
 referenced
the
then
governor
of
Oklahoma,
Lee
Cruce.
Cudjo's
sign,
hung
from
twine
around
his
 ankles,
 read,
 “To
 the
 Memory
 of
 Lee
 Cruce.”
 Dickerson’s
 sign,
 hung
 around
 his
 neck,
 read,
 “If
 Lee
Cruce
wants
to
help
this
nigger
out
he
will
have
to
go
to
hell
to
do
it.”
Governor
Cruce
was
 against
 capital
 punishment
 and
 had
 commuted
 the
 sentences
 of
 several
 legally
 tried
 and
 sentenced
criminals.

 Those
 who
 preferred
 lynchings
 to
 trials
 used
 Cruce’s
 actions
 as
 a
 justification
 for
 lynching:
if
Cruce
wouldn’t
apply
the
proper
penalties,
then
the
mob
must.
Some
sources
went
 so
far
as
to
blame
Cruce
for
the
increase
in
lynchings:
“Persons
who
favor
lynching
declare
that
 Governor
 Cruce’s
 conscientious
 scruples
 against
 allowing
 any
 hangings
 during
 this
 term
 of
 office,
 his
 scruples
 against
 capital
 punishment,
 is
 the
 leading
 cause
 of
 so
 many
 lynchings
 in
 Oklahoma”
(Norman
Transcript,
January
29,
1914).
The
human
body,
especially
the
female
body
 and
the
body
of
color,
has
always
been
acted
upon
by
the
body
politic—the
anti‐Cruce
slogans
 made
the
politicization
of
the
two
men’s
bodies
clearly
evident.

 In
 2014,
 the
 Oklahoma
 legislature
 tried
 to
 outlaw
 the
 wearing
 of
 hoodies;
 the
 statute
 banned
 wearing
 a
 “robe,
 mask,
 or
 other
 disguise”
 in
 the
 public
 at
 any
 time;
 if
 passed,
 the
 bill
 would
 have
 become
 an
 “emergency”
 statute,
 immediately
 in
 force—supposedly,
 it
 was
 “immediately
 necessary
 for
 the
 preservation
 of
 the
 public
 peace,
 health
 and
 safety.”
 When
 national
 public
 ridicule
 of
 the
 “hoodie
 law”
 began,
 some
 legislators
 tried
 to
 justify
 the
 bill
 by
 comparing
 it
 to
 Oklahoma
 Governor
 George
 Walton's
 1923
 law,
 still
 in
 effect,
 which
 prohibits
 concealing
one’s
identity
when
committing
a
crime,
a
law
specifically
intended
to
make
it
easier
 to
 arrest
 and
 prosecute
 KKK
 members.
 Walton
 fought
 against
 the
 Klan
 from
 the
 moment
 he
 took
office;
he
was
impeached
and
removed
from
office
a
mere
11
months
and
10
days
after
he
 was
inaugurated.

 Most
liberal
Oklahomans
believe
the
2014
bill
was
in
reaction
to
the
Summer
of
Ferguson.
 It
failed.

 
 University
of
Oklahoma
Regent
Thinks
His
City
Once
Had
a
More
Superior
Gene
Pool
 When
I
went
on
the
school
board
30...
25
years
ago...
a
little
over...
we
were,
probably
the
 best
 school
 district
 in
 the
 state.
 We
 just
 happened
 to
 have
 the
 best
 gene
 pool.
 But
 that
 gene
pool
keeps
moving
out.
It’s
moved
to
Edmond,
it’s
now
moved
to
Deer
Creek,
and
ya
 know,
they’ll
keep
runnin’
as
long
as
they
can
buy
green
fields
and
gasoline
for
their
car.

 —BlueNationReview.com,
3/20/2015

 
 When
 I
 was
 in
 graduate
 school
 at
 the
 University
 of
 Oklahoma,
 during
 a
 social
 event,
 I
 walked
up
to
two
women,
both
women
of
color
whom
I
knew,
and,
reverting
to
the
familiar
way
 my
 friends
 and
 I
 spoke
 to
 each
 other
 just
 40
 miles
 east
 of
 the
 university,
 I
 said,
 “Hey,
 girl!
 22
 



Whassup?
 Watcha
 doin’
 for
 Thanksgiving?”
 One
 of
 the
 women
 was
 a
 professor
 in
 the
 English
 department;
I
was
taking
a
class
from
her.
Over
the
course
of
the
semester,
we
had
personality
 conflicts
that
led
to
accusations
of
misconduct
on
both
sides.
She
told
a
faculty
committee
that
I
 was
a
racist
and
had
acted
in
a
racist
manner
when
I
addressed
her
as
“girl”
at
the
social
event.
 The
accusation
made
me
sick
at
my
stomach.
I
had
consciously
attempted
to
rid
myself
of
my
 upbringing,
beginning
when
I
was
in
elementary
school.
I
hated
my
stepfather
and
I
wanted
to
 be
whatever
he
didn’t
want
me
to
be,
hence,
I
did
not
want
to
be
a
racist.
For
as
long
as
I
could
 remember,
I
had
enjoyed
warm
and
egalitarian
relationships
with
white
kids,
black
kids,
Indian
 kids,
and
the
Laotian
kid
who
moved
to
town
when
I
was
in
fifth
grade.

 A
year
later,
on
the
occasion
of
my
30th
high
school
reunion,
I
was
still
unsettled
by
the
 racism
accusation
and
the
fact
that
it
was
incited
by
my
use
of
a
kinship
term,
a
friendship
term
 that
 also
 marked
 my
 working‐class
 and
 regional
 roots.
 I
 asked
 my
 friends
 there,
 black,
 white,
 and
 Indian,
 if
 they
 thought
 of
 me
 as
 racist,
 and
 if
 so,
 to
 tell
 me
 how
 so
 I
 could
 fix
 it.
 A
 unanimous
roar
of
laughter
followed
the
question.
There
was
also
some
hard
teasing
about
me
 being
just
like
I
was
in
high
school,
“too
damn
serious.”
Then,
together,
we
moved
to
the
dance
 floor
 to
 memorialize
 Michael
 Jackson’s
 recent
 death
 by
 doing
 the
 electric
 slide
 and
 a
 few
 moonwalks
 to
 a
 set
 of
 ten
 of
 his
 songs.
 But
 now,
 after
 researching
 and
 writing
 this
 essay
 and
 thinking
 about
 the
 incident
 with
 my
 professor
 over
 the
 last
 seven
 years,
 I
 have
 to
 check
 my
 privilege.
My
hurt
feelings
pale
in
comparison
to
the
quotidian
harassment
that
people
of
color
 endure.
I
must
remember
that
folks
who
do
not
know
me
might
be
deeply
disturbed
by
hearing
 certain
 charged
 words
 spoken
 by
 me
 in
 my
 southern
 accent,
 no
 matter
 how
 benignly
 I
 intend
 them,
because
they
evoke
a
history
I
can
neither
change
nor
fully
redeem
by
my
own
actions.

 Unfortunately,
racism
is
not
relegated
to
Oklahoma’s
history.

 
 Family
Says
Moore
(OK)
Police
Beat
Father
To
Death

 Three
Moore
Police
officers
were
put
on
administrative
leave
while
detectives
investigate
 an
in‐custody
death
from
overnight.
The
family
of
the
[black]
man
who
died
said
police
 beat
him
badly
and
they
recorded
it
with
a
cell
phone
camera..
[
.
.
.
]
Lunahi
Rodriguez
 said
that
five
officers
beat
her
father
to
death
right
in
front
of
her,
in
the
parking
lot
of
the
 movie
theater.

 —News9.com,
2/15/2014

 
 The
 years
 2012‐2014
 were
 bad
 ones
 for
 race
 relations
 in
 America.
 Many
 of
 the
 names
 of
 victims
 of
 race‐related
 violence
 are
 internationally
 recognizable:
 Trayvon
 Martin,
 Michael
 Brown,
Eric
Garner.
Perhaps
the
murder
of
Luis
Rodriguez
in
a
Moore,
Oklahoma,
movie
theater
 parking
lot
is
less
well
known.
Rodriguez
was
not
accused
of
any
crime;
in
fact,
he
was
trying
to
 deescalate
 a
 domestic
 spat
 between
 his
 wife
 and
 their
 daughter
 that
 took
 place
 in
 the
 theater
 parking
 lot.
 His
 wife,
 who
 appears
 to
 be
 white,
 slapped
 her
 daughter,
 and
 a
 bystander
 called
 police.
 Luis
 Rodriguez
 was
 trying
 to
 stop
 his
 upset
 wife
 from
 driving
 away
 when
 Moore
 police
 arrived.
It
appears
they
assumed
he
was
responsible
for
the
domestic
disturbance
and
stopped
 


23



him,
demanding
his
ID.
When
Rodriguez
attempted
to
continue
across
the
parking
lot
to
calm
 his
wife,
five
officers
took
him
down
for
not
presenting
identification
when
asked.
They
beat
him
 with
 fists
 and
 knees
 and
 pepper‐sprayed
 him.
 The
 officers
 ignored
 bystanders’
 (including
 the
 family’s)
insistence
that
he
was
not
part
of
the
disturbance;
likewise,
they
turned
a
deaf
ear
to
 concerns
for
Rodriquez’s
well
being.
When
officers
finally
handcuffed
Rodriguez
and
turned
him
 over
(he
had
been
face
down),
he
was
dead.
And,
as
happened
so
often
in
the
bad
old
days
of
 Oklahoma
lynchings,
the
officers
were
cleared
of
any
wrongdoing
and
no
one
was
indicted
for
 the
murder
of
Luis
Rodriquez.

 Neither
 was
 anyone
 indicted
 for
 the
 murder
 of
 Mary
 Nelson
 and
 her
 son;
 nor
 for
 the
 executions
of
John
Cudjo
and
Henry
Conley.

 In
 Faulkner’s
 story
 “Dry
 September,”
 the
 motivations
 behind
 the
 lynching
 of
 innocent
 black
man
Will
Mayes
include
race
hatred
and
sheer
meanness;
the
lynching
is
also
figured
as
a
 sacrifice
 in
 response
 to
 drought.
 Like
 the
 body
 of
 John
 Cudjo
 which
 was
 made
 to
 serve
 as
 a
 political
billboard,
dead
black
bodies
continue
to
serve
their
executioners
as
political
statements
 and
as
sacrifices
to
exorcise
national
guilt
and
fear,
as
tribute
to
our
increasingly
authoritarian
 and
 militarized
 society,
 and
 as
 an
 outlet
 for
 individual
 violent
 tendencies.
 I
 wonder
 if
 no
 one
 knows
 the
 history
 of
 lynchings
 or
 if,
 as
 a
 society,
 we
 have
 truly
 decided
 that
 only
 certain
 lives
 matter.
A
dry‐grass
fire
is
raging
across
our
country,
one
not
of
rumors
but
of
hatred
and
anger.
 It’s
 certain
 that
 if
 we
 keep
 going
 the
 direction
 we’re
 going,
 Oklahomans
 and
 Americans,
 of
 all
 colors,
 will
 continue
 to
 live
 increasingly
 disfigured
 lives
 in
 an
 increasingly
 disfigured
 society.
 And
all
of
our
home
towns,
all
the
Okemahs
and
Wewokas,
will
be
hushed.

 
 
 Works
Cited
 
 Butler,
Ken.
“A
Night
of
Vengeance
in
Wewoka.”
More
Oklahoma
Renegades.
Pelican
Publishing,
 2007.
Print.

 Census
Bureau.
“Census:
Oklahoma.”
Washington
DC,
USA:
GPO,
1920.
Print.

 Clark
 Kicktode,
 Charles
 N.
 Lynchings
 in
 Oklahoma:
 Vigilantism
 and
 Racism
 in
 the
 Twin
 Territories
of
Oklahoma,
1830‐1930.
Shawnee,
OK:
Kicktode,
2008.
Print.

 Everett,
Dianna.
“Lynching,”
Encyclopedia
of
Oklahoma
History
and
Culture,
www.okhistory.org
 Web.
15
June
2015.

 Goble,
Danney.
“The
Ku
Klux
Kan
in
the
1920s.”
Historical
Atlas
of
Oklahoma.
4th
ed.
Norman:
U
 of
OK
P,
2006.
Print.

 Guthrie,
 Woodrow
 Wilson.
 “Don’t
 Kill
 My
 Baby
 and
 My
 Son.”
 The
 Woody
 Guthrie
 Foundation
 Official
Woody
Guthrie
Website.

 Hayes,
Terrence.
“A
Postcard
from
Okemah.”
Ploughshares
28.1
(2002):
66–68.
Print.

 Littlefield,
Daniel
F.
Seminole
Burning:
A
Story
of
Racial
Vengeance.
U
Press
of
Mississippi,
1996.
 Print.



24
 



Loudenbeck,
Doug.
“Jim
Crow
in
Oklahoma
City.”
Blog.
Oklahoma
City
History
Blog.
N.p.,
1
May
 2009.
Web.
2
Apr.
2015.

 McMahan,
 Anna.
 Interviewed
 by
 Grace
 Kelly,
 Oklahoma
 WPA.
 Indian
 Pioneer
 Collection,
 Oklahoma
Historical
Society.
1937.

 Oklahoma
Senate
Bill
13.
Don
Barrington,
author.
55th
Oklahoma
Legislature,
1st
sess.,
January
 2015.

 Smith‐Estrada,
 Carmen.
 “Oklahoma
 City
 African
 Americans
 Sit‐in
 for
 Integration,
 1958‐64.”
 Database.
Global
Nonviolent
Action
Database.
n.p.,
9
Dec.
2011.
Web.
2
Mar.
2015.



This essay previously published in Oklahomeland. U of Lamar P, 2015. 


25



Chris
Warren


26
 



“Ernest
 Hemingway
in
 the
Yellowstone
 High
Country”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 



 



 


27



28
 



Introduction








 Cooke
City,
Montana,
is
a
town
unlike
any
other
in
the
United
States.
It
sits
nestled
among
the
 rugged
 peaks
 of
 the
 Beartooth
 Mountains,
 just
 outside
 of
 Yellowstone’s
 northeast
 boundary.
 Even
though
the
nearest
stoplight
is
two
hours
away,
Cooke
City
has
always
had
a
cosmopolitan
 feel;
its
proximity
to
Yellowstone
has
brought
people
from
all
over
the
world
to
this
wilderness
 outpost
at
7800
feet.
Since
the
first
accounts
of
Yellowstone’s
smoldering
landscape
made
it
back
 east,
people
have
come
for
their
own
reasons:
Gold,
fur,
land,
solitude,
wilderness,
adventure,
or
 even
as
a
place
to
lay
low
for
a
while.
These
days
they
come
for
Yellowstone,
wolves,
trout,
elk,
 snow,
wilderness,
adventure
or
a
place
to
lay
low
for
a
while.
The
year‐round
population
is
under
 a
 hundred,
 there
 is
 no
 hospital,
 no
 high
 school,
 no
 grocery
 store.
 500
 inches
 of
 snow
 is
 not
 unusual
 for
 a
 year.
 Why
 then
 would
 Ernest
 Hemingway
 name
 this,
 of
 all
 towns,
 as
 one
 of
 his
 favorite
 places
 to
 write?
 How
 could
 a
 town
 this
 small
 and
 remote,
 end
 up
 on
 a
 list
 with
 such
 literary
Meccas
as
Madrid,
Paris
and
Hemingwayville
itself,
Key
West?


 After
 my
 first
 couple
 of
 years
 in
 Cooke
 City
 I
 attended
 the
 University
 of
 Montana
 and
 took
 a
 course
 on
 Hemingway.
 His
 collection,
 The
 First
 Forty‐Nine
 Stories,
 was
 on
 the
 syllabus
 and
as
I
picked
my
way
through
the
stories
I
came
across
a
line
in
the
preface
which
mentioned
 Cooke
 City
 as
 a
 great
 place
 to
 write.
 When
 I
 returned
 to
 Cooke
 the
 following
summer
 I
 asked
 around
 about
 this
 but
 found
 very
 little
 information
 and
 even
 less
 interest.
 That
 is
 until
 I
 met
 Ralph
 Glidden,
 the
 owner
 of
 the
 Cooke
 City
 General
 Store.
 Ralph
 had
 moved
 to
 Cooke
 in
 the
 early
 seventies
 and
 had
 been
 intrigued
 by
 Hemingway’s
 connection
 to
 the
 area.
 At
 that
 time
 there
were
still
some
people
around
who
remembered
Hemingway’s
visits.
Olive
Nordquist,
who
 had
known
Hemingway
and
still
resided
in
Cooke,
hired
Ralph
to
help
her
with
her
hotel.
Olive
 had
run
the
L—T
Ranch
with
her
husband
during
Hemingway’s
first
three
visits
there
and
even
 went
to
see
him
in
Key
West.
She
was
very
fond
of
the
Hemingway
family
and
happy
to
share
 her
memories
of
them.
Ralph
had
also
known
a
few
of
the
care
takers
at
the
ranches
in
the
upper
 Clark’s
Fork
Valley
and
through
them
had
learned
much
of
the
history
of
Hemingway’s
time
in
 the
area.
(1)
 A
few
years
later
I
met
another
character
who
would
go
on
to
become
a
great
friend
and
a
 big
 help
 with
 my
 research.
 I
 met
 Tom
 Weaver
 while
 having
 a
 beer
 at
 the
 Miners
 Saloon
 in
 downtown
 Cooke
 City.
 
 He
 was
 hard
 to
 miss,
 standing
 six‐foot
 four
 with
 a
 white
 beard
 and
 sporting
a
beret.
Tom,
from
Red
Lodge,
and
a
published
writer
himself,
told
me
that
his
father
 had
been
friends
with
Hemingway
during
his
time
in
the
mountains.
The
next
summer
my
wife
 and
I
opened
a
coffee
shop
in
Cooke
City
and
Tom
came
in
to
visit.
He
gave
me
a
copy
of
True
at
 First
 Light,
 Hemingway’s
 account
 of
 his
 second
 and
 final
 trip
 to
 Africa.
 Tom
 had
 dog‐eared
 a
 couple
 of
 pages
 where
 Cooke
 City
 and
 the
 Beartooth
 Pass
 were
 mentioned.
 
 After
 reading
 the
 


29



novel
 I
 realized
 that
 after
 twenty
 years,
 two
 marriages,
 a
 world
 war,
 a
 Nobel
 Prize
 and
 while
 living
on
another
continent,
the
author’s
mind
still
drifted
back
to
his
time
in
the
Yellowstone
 High
Country.
(2)
 Soon
after
the
publication
of
True
at
First
Light
I
came
across
an
article
in
the
2006
 Fly
 Fishing
 edition
 of
 the
 Big
 Sky
 Journal
 about
 Hemingway’s
 first
 summer
 in
 the
 Beartooths.

From
this
article
I
learned
that
Hemingway
had
spent
time
in
Hoosier’s
Bar,
 which
 was
 not
 only
 still
 operating
 in
 Cooke
 City
 but
 was
 the
 chief
 sponsor
 of
 our
 local
 softball
 team.
 The
 article
 also
 shed
 light
 on
 Tom’s
 connection
 to
 Hemingway,
 revealing
 that
he
was
the
son
of
Chub
Weaver,
who
is
mentioned
in
For
Whom
the
Bell
Tolls
as
one
 of
the
writer’s
best
friends.
(3)
At
this
point
I
realized
that
I
had
met
two
people
(Ralph
 and
 Tom)
 whose
 generosity
 and
 enthusiasm
 had
 kept
 my
 interest
 in
 Hemingway
 alive
 until
 I
 had
 found
 those
 connections
 between
 Yellowstone
 and
 Hemingway
 in
 the
 work
 itself.

It
was
then
I
decided
to
try
and
make
something
cohesive
out
of
these
clues
I
was
 coming
across.

 My
 project
 began
 in
 earnest
 when
 I
 bought
 Carlos
 Baker’s
 comprehensive
 biography
Ernest
 Hemingway:
 A
 Life
 Story.
From
this
book
I
was
able
to
discern
exactly
 when
the
author
was
here
and
who
he
came
with.
I
then
acquired
 two
books
of
letters:
 Selected
 Letters,
 also
 by
 Carlos
 Baker,
 and
 The
 Only
 Thing
 That
 Counts,
 a
 collection
 of
 letters
exchanged
between
Hemingway
and
his
editor
Max
Perkins.
By
cross
referencing
 the
dates
he
was
at
the
ranch
with
these
two
collections
of
letters
I
was
able
to
get
a
good
 idea
of
what
life
was
like
for
Hemingway.
In
Selected
 Letters
there
were
many
letters
to
 friends
imploring
them
to
join
him,
and
long
accounts
of
his
days
hunting
and
fishing.
In
 the
letters
to
his
editor
there
was
a
full
account
of
all
the
writing
he
did
there.
In
these
 letters
 I
 found
 many
 references
 to
 Cooke
 City
 and
 Red
 Lodge
 as
 well
 as
 many
 of
 the
 drainages,
lakes
and
rivers
that
I
was
already
familiar
with.
The
biography
and
letters
also
 shed
light
on
a
Hemingway
I
never
knew
existed;
a
family
man
who
fished
with
his
wife
 and
taught
his
children
to
fish
and
ride
horses.
A
man
who
joined
in
kids’
baseball
games
 in
the
corral,
and
told
ghost
stories
around
the
fire
in
a
goofy
hat.
A
man
who
could
at
 one
 moment
 entertain
 his
 wife’s
 wealthy
 friends
 and
 the
 next
 head
 into
 some
 of
 the
 world’s
most
rugged
backcountry.
He
was
also
a
man
burdened
by
the
responsibility
left
 him
by
his
father’s
suicide.
Where
was
the
media‐construct
of
the
drunken,
womanizing,
 egomaniac
with
the
big
white
beard
and
cable
knit
sweater?


 Next
I
began
reading
the
work.
I
found
connections
to
the
Beartooths,
Cooke
City,
 and
the
ranch
in
seven
novels,
several
short
stories,
a
half
a
dozen
articles
and
countless
 letters.
 
 When
I
 read
 the
story
 “A
 Man
 of
the
World,”
I
 realized
 that
had
 I
 come
 across
 something
 special.
 The
 story
 is
 quite
 obviously
 set
 in
 Cooke
 City,
 Montana,
 but
 Hemingway
has
renamed
it
Jessup,
Wyoming.
Now
to
anyone
who
has
wintered
in
Cooke
 the
story’s
setting
is
obvious,
but
to
a
scholar
who
had
only
read
about
the
area
or
maybe
 passed
 through
 in
 summer,
 the
 nasty
 place
 described
 in
 the
 story
 would
 seem
 quite
 foreign.

After
doing
a
little
research
I
found
that
“A
Man
of
the
World”
was
the
last
thing
 30
 



that
Ernest
Hemingway
ever
published.

It
was
published
in
the
100th
Anniversary
issue
of
 The
Atlantic
Monthly(4)
and
was
essentially
dismissed
by
critics
as
an
ugly
little
story
not
 worthy
of
the
author’s
legacy.

The
little
criticism
that
exists
of
this
story
fails
to
connect
 it
to
Cooke
City
and
to
Hemingway’s
five
summers
spent
on
the
ranch
ten
miles
east
of
 there.
 
 While
 one
 critic
 wrongly
 connects
 “A
 Man
 of
 the
 World”
 to
 The
 Nick
 Adams
 Stories,(5)
 another
 considers
 Jessup
 an
 otherwise
 unidentified
 town
 (6).
 After
 its
 appearance
in
1957
the
story
disappeared
for
thirty
years
until
the
Finca
 Vigia
 edition
of
 Hemingway’s
 short
 stories
 was
 published
 in
 1986
 explaining
 why
 it
 has
 been
 largely
 passed
over
by
scholars.
(7)
When
we
look
at
where
it
was
set
and
when
it
was
probably
 conceived
we
see
that
the
main
character,
Blindie,
compares
well
with
Ole
Anderson
in
 “The
 Killers”
 and
 the
 ‘Mexican’
 in
 “The
 Gambler,
 the
 Nun
 and
 the
 Radio”.(8)
 Tom,
 the
 fictional
 narrator
 in
 “A
 Man
 of
 the
 World”
 would
 re‐emerge
 as
 Montana
 ranch
 owner
 Thomas
Hudson
in
Hemingway’s
posthumous
novel
Islands
in
the
Stream.
 For
Whom
the
Bell
Tolls
revealed
the
importance
of
the
Yellowstone
High
Country
 to
 the
 author.
 The
 protagonist,
 Robert
 Jordan,
 hails
 from
 Red
 Lodge,
 Montana
 (on
 the
 other
 side
 of
 the
 Beartooths)
 and
 all
 of
 his
 memories
 and
 flashbacks
 are
 based
 on
 Hemingway’s
time
at
the
ranch.
I
knew
from
the
biography
that
Hemingway’s
father
had
 shot
himself
with
his
father’s
civil
war
Smith
and
Wesson,
and
that
his
mother
had
sent
 the
gun
to
him
just
before
his
first
trip
to
the
Yellowstone.
From
Tom
Weaver
I
knew
that
 Hemingway
and
his
father
(Chub)
had
ridden
regularly
over
from
Red
Lodge
to
the
ranch,
 and
on
one
of
these
trips
they
had
stopped
at
a
lake
where
Hemingway
rid
himself
of
the
 gun
by
dropping
it
in.
In
For
Whom
the
Bell
Tolls,
while
trying
to
drum
up
the
courage
to
 blow
 the
 bridge,
 protagonist
 Robert
 Jordan
 struggles
 with
 his
 father’s
 suicide
 and
 recounts
 the
dropping
of
the
gun
into
the
lake,
even
mentioning
Chub
 by
 name.
It
was
 then
 I
 realized
 that
 events
 in
 the
 Yellowstone
 High
 Country
 had
 major
 significance
 to
 both
the
work
and
the
biography.
(9)
 At
this
point
I
knew
the
exact
dates
of
his
visits
but
my
resources
were
limited
and
 at
the
time
internet
in
Cooke
City
was
painfully
slow.
So
any
time
I
traveled
to
a
city— Missoula,
Bozeman,
and
Portland
mostly—I
would
head
to
bookstores
and
libraries
to
do
 research.
 I
 would
 then
 search
 indexes
 for
 any
 reference
 to
 his
 time
 here.
 Whenever
 I
 found
 something
 of
 value
 I
 would
 either
 buy
 the
 book
 or
 scribble
 down
 the
 important
 information
and
log
it
into
my
computer
at
the
first
chance
I
got.
 
 The
 question
 now
 was
 why
 hadn’t
 all
 this
 information
 been
 brought
 to
 light?
 Ernest
Hemingway
has
had
his
life
and
work
dissected
and
analyzed
perhaps
more
than
 any
other
American
writer
in
history.
It
seemed
impossible
that
there
could
be
a
gap
in
 the
 story.
 In
 reading
 all
 the
 criticism
 on
 “A
 Man
 of
 the
 World”
 I
 found
 no
 one
 who
 connected
 the
 story
 to
 Hemingway’s
 time
 in
 Cooke
 City.
 Even
 though
 Hemingway
 sent
 off
 final
 drafts
 of
 major
 works
 from
 the
 Cooke
 City
 General
 Store
 and
 post
 office,
 there
 was
not
even
a
plaque
or
a
sign
in
town.
(10)


31



As
I
continued
my
research
there
were
highs
and
lows,
times
when
I
thought
I
was
 the
 sole
 possessor
 of
 some
 crucial
 piece
 of
 information
 only
 to
 find
 an
 article
 that
 had
 made
the
same
discovery
several
years
earlier.
As
I
kept
on
digging
I
began
to
realize
why
 the
 contribution
 this
 little
 corner
 of
 the
 world
 had
 made
 to
 the
 life
 and
 work
 of
 Hemingway
 had
 been
 so
 under
 examined
 and
 under‐valued.
 
 The
 L—T
 Ranch
 sits
 in
 Wyoming
 while
 Cooke
 City
 resides
 ten
 miles
 away
 across
 the
 Montana
 border.
 Robert
 Jordan
is
from
Red
Lodge,
“The
Gambler,
the
Nun
and
the
Radio”
takes
place
in
Billings,
 Thomas
Hudson
from
Islands
in
the
Stream,
owns
a
ranch
in
Montana,
in
The
Green
Hills
 of
Africa
he
refers
to
hunting
Timber
Creek,
which
is
a
small
creek
twenty
miles
from
any
 road,
in
True
at
First
Light
he
remembers
hunting
in
Wyoming.
“A
Man
of
the
World”
is
 set
 in
 Cooke
 City
 but
 it
 is
 called
 Jessup,
 Wyoming.
 
 To
 the
 south
 of
 the
 ranch
 are
 the
 Absaroka
 Mountains,
 to
 the
 north
 are
 the
 Beartooth
 Mountains
 and
 to
 the
 west
 is
 Yellowstone.
 
 In
 short,
 the
 location
 of
 the
 ranch
 and
 Hemingway’s
 use
 of
 so
 many
 descriptions
had
created
an
ambiguity
that
made
it
virtually
impossible
to
connect
all
the
 literary
and
biographical
clues.
It
dawned
on
me
that
if
you
didn’t
have
both
knowledge
 of
the
work
and
biography
and
a
close
understanding
of
the
terrain,
you
would
probably
 not
make
all
the
connections.
The
fact
that
in
more
than
fifty
years
no
one
has
connected
 his
last
published
work
to
Cooke
City
is
a
testament
to
this
blind
spot
in
the
scholarship.
 In
 naming
 this
 region
 I
 have
 referred
 to
 Ralph
 Glidden’s
 history
 of
 the
 Cooke
 City
 area
 and
decided
to
borrow
a
phrase
from
his
subtitle
and
refer
to
the
region
as
a
whole
as
the
 “Yellowstone
High
Country.”(11)

 Next
I
set
about
trying
to
find
people’s
personal
recollections
of
the
famous
writer.
 Ralph
 Glidden
 again
 proved
 instrumental.
 
 Ralph
 sent
 me
 copies
 of
 articles
 written
 in
 1970
 upon
 the
 publication
 of
 Islands
 in
 the
 Stream.
 (12)
 The
 authors
 of
 the
 articles
 had
 interviewed
several
people
who
had
known
Hemingway
during
his
stays
at
the
ranch,
so
I
 now
 had
 several
 first‐person
 accounts
 of
 Hemingway’s
 time
 in
 the
 area
 and
 the
 impression’s
 he
 and
 his
 family
 had
 made
 on
 the
 local
 residents.
 
 From
 these
 accounts
 I
 realized
two
things:
one,
that
the
people
who
knew
the
Hemingway’s
best,
Chub
Weaver,
 Ivan
Wallace,
the
Nordquists
and
Polly
Copeland,
all
had
very
positive
impressions
of
the
 man
 and
 his
 family.
 Two,
 that
 there
 was
 a
 tendency
 for
 people
 to
 embellish
 their
 accounts,
 and
 because
 it
 had
 been
 thirty
 to
 forty
 years
 since
 these
 lives
 had
 crossed,
 people
sometimes
just
added
their
own
twist
to
the
tale.
One
woman
from
the
ranch
in
 the
 Bighorns,
 remembered
 ‘Ernie’
 telling
 her
 that
 his
 favorite
 places
 in
 the
 world
 were
 Wyoming
and
Africa.(13)
Well,
Hemingway
was
at
her
ranch
in
1928,
it
was
his
first
time
 in
 Wyoming
 but
 he
 would
 not
 set
 foot
 on
 the
 African
 continent
 for
 another
 five
 years.
 Another
 source
 suggested
 that
 “Wine
 of
 Wyoming”
 was
 inspired
 by
 his
 time
 on
 the
 Clark’s
Fork,
(14)
when
in
reality
that
story
was
published
before
Hemingway’s
first
visit
 to
 the
 Clark’s
 Fork
 Valley.
 Even
 Hemingway’s
 two
 most
 respected
 biographers,
 Carlos
 Baker
and
Michael
Reynolds,
differ
on
his
initial
arrival
at
the
L—T
Ranch.
Baker
has
him
 first
stopping
at
a
ranch
on
Sunlight
Creek
before
finding
his
way
to
the
L—T,
meaning
 32
 



he
 would
 have
 had
 to
 come
 from
 the
 East.(15)
 Reynolds
 on
 the
 other
 hand
 has
 him
 coming
through
Yellowstone
and
Cooke
City,
meaning
he
would
have
had
to
come
from
 the
West.
(16)
So
even
before
my
story
could
begin
I
had
to
sort
out
which
version
was
 true.
I
turned
to
local
folklore
and
an
eyewitness
account
of
the
Hemingway’s
arrival
from
 Polly
 Copeland:
 “It
 was
 the
 first
 automobile
 that
 ever
 dared
 to
 travel
 the
 perilous
 horse
 trail,
 traversing
 the
 roaring
 Clark’s
 Fork
 at
 intervals
 from
 Crandall
 on.”
 Problem
 solved:
 he
came
from
the
East.(17)
 I
 realized
 that
 in
 order
 for
 my
 project
 to
 have
 any
 legitimacy
 I
 would
 have
 to
 be
 very
 careful
 about
 what
 I
 included.
 Also,
 since
 this
 is
 a
 work
 of
 non‐fiction
 I
 had
 to
 be
 very
 careful
 to
 not
 fall
 into
 the
 same
 traps
 myself.
 I
 could
 not
 fill
 in
 gaps
 with
 my
 own
 assumptions;
everything
I
decided
to
include
would
have
to
be
verified
and
cited.

Rather
 than
just
paraphrasing
other
peoples’
work
I
decided
to
quote
and
give
full
credit
rather
 than
risk
unintentional
plagiarism.
As
I
began
to
compile
all
this
I
realized
that
the
story
 of
Hemingway’s
time
in
the
Yellowstone
High
Country
had
a
beginning,
a
middle
and
an
 end,
conflict
and
resolution,
that
it
was
pertinent
to
both
his
work
and
biography,
and
to
 the
 history
 of
 the
 area.
 It
 began
 with
 the
 birth
 of
 his
 second
 son,
 the
 beginning
 of
 his
 second
 marriage,
 the
 completion
 of
 A
 Farewell
 to
 Arms,
 his
 first
 trip
 out
 west
 and
 the
 death
of
his
father.

It
ended
with
the
end
of
his
marriage
to
Pauline,
the
beginning
of
the
 deterioration
of
his
relationship
with
his
sons,
the
fall
of
Spain
and
the
resulting
onset
of
 WWII,
and
the
completion
of
For
Whom
the
Bell
Tolls.
In
between
there
were
three
more
 novels,
the
trip
to
Africa,
the
great
depression,
many
of
his
best
short
stories.
As
well
as
 all
 the
 best
 big
 game
 hunting
 of
 his
 life
 outside
 of
 Africa,
 including
 black
 bear,
 grizzly,
 elk,
deer
and
bighorn
sheep
and
what
he
considered
the
best
trout
fishing
of
his
life.(18)

 At
this
point
I
was
feeling
pretty
good
about
the
project
when
my
wife
Patty
met
a
 man,
once
again
at
the
Miners
Saloon,
who
would
prove
invaluable
to
the
project.
Dink
 Bruce
is
the
son
of
Otto
Bruce,
long
time
Hemingway
friend
and
driver.(19)
Dink
winters
 in
Key
West
and
summers
in
Livingston,
Montana,
and
moves
comfortably
through
the
 literary
 circles
 there.
 Dink
 was
 at
 the
 Miners
 with
 Jon
 Fryer
 the
 owner
 of
 the
 Sax
 and
 Fryer
 bookstore
 in
 Livingston.
 Patty
 struck
 up
 a
 conversation
 with
 them
 and
 eventually
 my
project
came
up.
That
was
when
Dink
revealed
that
his
father,
Otto
Bruce,
had
been
 good
friends
with
Hemingway.

The
two
men
were
very
 supportive
and
gracious
and
to
 my
astonishment
a
couple
of
weeks
later
a
couple
arrived
at
our
coffee
shop
with
a
manila
 envelope
with
pictures
from
Dink’s
personal
collection.
The
pictures
were
stunning,
here
 was
 Ernest
 Hemingway
 as
 a
 young
 man,
 rifle
 slung
 over
 his
 shoulder,
 here
 he
 was
 with
 Pauline
 and
 their
 fishing
 rods,
 Ernest
 with
 his
 Bighorn
 sheep,
 pictures
 of
 the
 boys
 with
 bear
hides.
Once
again
a
local
resident
with
similar
interests,
and
personal
memories
and
 knowledge
of
Hemingway’s
time
here
had
come
into
our
lives
and
generously
contributed
 to
 the
 project
 by
 offering
 enthusiasm,
 support
 and
 this
 time
 images
 of
 the
 Hemingway
 family.

 


33



In
order
to
make
this
work
accurate
I
have
tried
to
use
Hemingway’s
own
words
as
 much
as
possible,
using
letters,
quote’s
and
excerpts
from
the
work.
Of
course,
some
of
 the
 quotes
 are
 little
 more
 than
 people’s
 memories
 and
 ‘the
 work’
 is
 largely
 fictionalized
 accounts
 of
 the
 author’s
 biography,
 so
 absolute
 accuracy
 may
 be
 unattainable.
 My
 research
has
convinced
me
that
these
mountains
that
I
call
home,
and
the
wildness
that
 resides
 within
 them,
 had
 an
 undeniable
 impact
 on
 both
 the
 life
 and
 work
 of
 one
 of
 the
 most
influential
American
authors
of
the
twentieth
century.

 What
 follows
 is
 a
 complete
 account
 of
 Ernest
 Hemingway’s
 time
 in
 the
 Yellowstone
High
Country.

 
 
 
 
 Chapter
1:
1928
 In
 1928,
 two
 years
 before
 his
 first
 visit
 to
 the
 Yellowstone
 High
 Country,
 Hemingway
 made
 an
 exploratory
 trip
 to
 Sheridan,
 Wyoming,
 and
 the
 nearby
 Bighorn
 Mountains.
 He
 had
 married
 Pauline
 Pfeifer
 two
 years
 before.
 On
 June
 28th
 Pauline
 gave
 birth
 to
 Patrick,
 their
 first
 child
 together.
 Hemingway
 had
 another
 son
 Jack
 or
 ‘Bumby’
 (as
 he
 was
 called
 when
 he
 was
 young)
 from
his
previous
marriage
to
Hadley
Richardson.
Patrick’s
birth
was
a
difficult
one:
18
hours
of
 labor
ending
with
a
Caesarean
section.
Pauline’s
recovery
was
also
long
and
difficult
and
made
 worse
by
the
suffocating
summer
heat
of
Kansas
City.
When
Pauline
was
well
enough
they
took
 the
train
to
Piggot,
Arkansas,
where
her
parents
lived.
A
month
after
the
birth,
when
Pauline
and
 Patrick
had
gained
enough
strength,
Ernest
headed
west.
He
had
a
novel
to
finish.(1)
 At
this
point
in
his
career
Hemingway
had
published
Three
Short
Stories
and
Ten
Poems,
 In
Our
Time,
and
The
Sun
Also
Rises.
He
had
also
bummed
around
Paris
with
F.
Scott
Fitzgerald,
 Gertrude
Stein,
Sherwood
Anderson,
and
had
developed
a
friendship
with
Jon
Dos
Passos.
Before
 his
time
in
Paris
he
had
volunteered
in
Italy
as
an
ambulance
driver
during
WWI,
been
the
first
 American
 wounded
 on
 the
 Italian
 front,
 and
 then
 fallen
 in
 love
 with
 his
 nurse.
 It
 was
 this
 experience
that
would
be
his
inspiration
for
the
novel
he
was
trying
to
finish.
He
landed
back
in
 Kansas
City
to
pick
up
his
old
Ford
Runabout
and
meet
his
friend
Bill
Horne.(2)
Hemingway
and
 Horne
had
met
in
Italy
in
the
ambulance
corps.
The
novel
was
almost
complete
but
it
still
lacked
 an
 ending
 and
 a
 title.
 The
 author
 hoped
 some
 clean
 cool
 mountain
 air,
 some
 rising
 trout,
 and
 time
 away
 from
 the
 family
 and
 the
 in‐laws
 would
 allow
 him
 the
 time
 and
 space
 to
 finish
 his
 book.(3)

 This
was
Hemingway’s
first
summer
away
from
Spain
and
it’s
bullfight
circuit
in
six
years,
 and
he
was
at
once
eager
for
a
new
adventure
and
desperate
to
find
an
ending
for
his
book.
In
an
 August
9th
letter
to
his
friend
Waldo
Pierce
he
describes
his
first
couple
of
weeks
in
Wyoming:
 
 It’s
 damned
 lovely
 country
 though.
 Looks
 like
 Spain,
 Big
 Horn
 Mts.
 [ringers?]
 for
 the
 Guadaramas
 only
 on
 a
 bigger
 scale,
 same
 color,
 same
 shape.
 Drove
 here
 in
 3
 days
 from
 34
 



K.C..
 
 340,
 380,
 320
 .
 Jackrabbits
 with
 us
 as
 big
 as
 mules.
 Came
 to
 a
 ranch
 of
 a
 friend
 where
there
were
15
girls!

Shit.
Worked
and
fished
as
follows.
 
 1st
day‐
worked
4
pages,
fished
with
Bill
Horne
caught
12.
 
 2nd
day‐worked
4
½
pages,
fished
with
2
girls
caught

2.
 
 3rd
day‐
worked
zero,
fished
by
self
alone,
caught
30
‐
limit.
 Got
 up
 at
 6a.m.
 on
 morning
 of
 4th
 day
 and
 left
 without
 saying
 goodbye,
 went
 into
 Sheridan
where
stayed
at
old
hotel
and
worked.
9‐6
½
‐
9‐11.
‐
Then
came
out
to
an
empty
 ranch
and
without
dudes
and
did
17
½
yesterday
‐
bloody
near
2550
words.
Probably
shite
 too.(4)





 His
first
stop
with
Bill
Horne
was
at
7000
ft.
on
the
eastern
slope
of
the
Bighorns
at
the
 Folly
Ranch.
While
the
visiting
girls
obviously
irritated
Hemingway,
Bill
couldn’t
have
felt
more
 differently
and
began
a
relationship
with
one
of
them.
Her
name
was
Bunny
and
she
would
later
 become
Mrs.
Bunny
Horne.
The
“old
hotel”
in
Sheridan
was
the
Sheridan
Inn,
formerly
owned
 by
Buffalo
Bill
Cody,
which
still
sits
on
Broadway
in
downtown
Sheridan.(


 

 From
the
same
letter
he
writes,
“I
wish
to
God
Pauline
would
come
out
and
that
I
would
 get
this
book
finished
before
she
comes.
Am
lonely
as
a
bastard,
drank
too
much
last
night
and
 feel
like
anything
but
work
now.”(5)
As
eager
as
he
was
for
the
arrival
of
Pauline,
the
ending
he
 had
decided
on
for
his
book
was
going
to
be
a
little
difficult
to
explain.
He
had
decided
that
his
 novel
would
end
with
its
heroine
Catherine,
and
the
child
she
was
carrying,
both
dying
during
 childbirth,
an
ending
obviously
inspired
by
their
recent
traumatic
circumstances.
On
August
23rd
 in
another
letter
to
Pierce,
Hemingway
declared
an
end
to
the
novel
that
he
would
later
title
A
 Farewell
to
Arms.
While
staying
at
the
Sheridan
Inn,
the
author
had
befriended
the
Moncini’s,
a
 French
family
who
lived
on
Val
Vista
Street
a
couple
of
blocks
from
the
Inn
on
what
was
then
 the
outskirts
of
town.
The
couple
worked
in
the
local
coal
mines
and
had
two
sons:
August
and
 Lucien.
Upon
Pauline’s
arrival
Ernest
took
her
to
meet
his
new
friends.

The
Hemingway’s
were
 able
to
speak
French
with
their
hosts
while
drinking
their
homemade
wine.
It
was
an
amicable
 arrangement
that
the
writer
would
later
document
in
his
short
story
“Wine
of
Wyoming”
(first
 published
in
Scribners
Magazine,
Aug.
1930).
 They
spent
the
rest
of
their
stay
high
in
the
Cloud
Peak
Wilderness
at
a
ranch
owned
by
 Willis
Spear
and
his
daughter
Elsa,
the
Spear‐O‐Wigwam:

 

 The
stone
and
log
cabin
in
which
the
Hemingway’s
lived
sits
at
the
edge
of
a
clear
amber
 stream.
Inside,
the
furniture—the
desk,
chairs,
beds—is
of
strong,
rough
logs,
handmade
 more
than
40
years
before.
Early
in
the
morning,
Hemingway
could
walk
outside
and
look
 across
 the
 rushing
 stream,
 see
 cattle
 grazing
 on
 the
 hillside,
 moose
 and
 deer
 and
 elk
 feeding
carelessly
on
the
top.(6)
 


 




They
also
visited
western
writer
Owen
Wister
and
shot
some
prairie
dogs
from
the
car
before
 heading
to
the
Crow
Indian
Reservation
to
shoot
prairie
chickens.
The
couple
eventually
pulled
 


35



out
 of
 the
 Bighorns
 and
 headed
 to
 the
 town
 of
 Cody,
 through
 Yellowstone
 National
 Park,
 and
 out
the
South
entrance
to
Jackson
Hole.
They
stopped
to
fish
the
Snake
River
before
turning
east
 and
 back
 toward
 Arkansas.
 As
 they
 returned
 from
 Hemingway’s
 furthest
 venture
 west,
 the
 author
had
finished
A
Farewell
to
Arms,
gathered
the
material
for
“Wine
of
Wyoming,”
and
whet
 his
appetite
for
the
Rocky
Mountains.
This
trip
established
a
formula
that
would
serve
him
well
 for
 the
 next
 eleven
 years.
 Whenever
 something
 needed
 finishing,
 he
 would
 head
 west
 for
 the
 summer
 and
 fall
 to
 a
 place
 where
 he
 could
 hunt,
 fish,
 and
 work.
 While
 he
 and
 Pauline
 would
 continue
to
catch
trout,
Hemingway
would
not
have
to
settle
for
prairie
dogs
and
chickens
much
 longer,
the
big
game
of
the
Yellowstone
High
Country
awaited.
 

 *
 Shortly
after
leaving
Wyoming,
Hemingway
received
word
that
his
father
had
died.
He
headed
 to
 his
 childhood
 home
 of
 Oak
 Park,
 Michigan,
 and
 once
 there
 found
 that
 his
 father
 had
 shot
 himself
 with
 an
 old,
 worn,
 Smith
 and
 Wesson
 .32
 revolver
 that
 had
 belonged
 to
 Anson
 Hemingway,
Hemingway’s
grandfather.
While
suicide
in
general
would
pre‐occupy
Hemingway
 for
the
rest
of
his
life,
this
particular
event
would
haunt
him
for
the
next
eleven
years.

A
couple
 of
months
after
Hemingway’s
father’s
death,
a
box
arrived
at
Ernest
and
Pauline’s
new
home
in
 Key
West.
Grace
Hemingway
had
mentioned
sending
some
paintings
that
she
wanted
to
sell
but
 Ernest
wanted
nothing
to
do
with
it.
The
box
sat
for
more
than
a
month
before
Pauline
insisted
 on
 opening
 it.
 Inside
 were
 the
 paintings,
 a
 now
 moldy
 chocolate
 cake,
 and
 the
 Smith
 and
 Wesson.(7)
This
gun
would
be
with
him
when
he
returned
to
the
mountains
two
years
later.
 As
he
drove
west
in
the
summer
of
1930,
though
still
only
thirty,
he
had
been
to
war,
been
 married,
 divorced
 and
 married
 again,
 had
 two
 sons,
 published
 two
 collections
 of
 short
 stories
 and
 just
 finished
 his
 second
 novel.
 He’d
 lived
 most
 of
 the
 last
 ten
 years
 in
 France
 and
 Spain,
 before
returning
home
to
witness
the
death
of
his
father
and
the
birth
of
the
great
depression.
 With
all
of
this
on
his
mind,
Hemingway
headed
west
out
of
Cody,
up
the
Clark’s
Fork
River,
and
 into
the
heart
of
the
Beartooth
Mountains.
 
 
 
 
 Chapter
2:
1930
 
Ernest
Hemingway’s
time
in
the
Yellowstone
High
Country
began
on
July
13,
1930
When
he
first
 crossed
 the
 Clark’s
 Fork
 and
 settled
 onto
 the
 L—T
 Ranch
 ten
 miles
 outside
 of
 Cooke
 City,
 Montana.

The
ranch
was
owned
by
Olive
and
Lawrence
Nordquist,
the
L—T
stood
for
the
first
 and
 last
 letters
 in
 the
 latter’s
 name.
 Hemingway
 arrived
 with
 his
 second
 wife,
 Pauline
 Pfieffer
 and
 his
 first
 son
 Bumby.
 Patrick
 his
 second
 son,
 first
 with
 Pauline,
 stayed
 in
 Piggot
 with
 her
 parents.
Before
arriving
at
the
L—T
they
had
been
directed
to
another
ranch
on
Sunlight
creek
 owned
by
Simon
Snyder.
People
there,
when
they
realized
who
their
famous
guest
was,
“fell
all
 over
themselves
to
make
him
feel
at
home.”(1)
In
search
of
a
lower
profile
Hemingway
packed
 36
 



his
 family
 into
 their
 car
 and
 headed
 further
 into
 the
 Beartooths
 to
 the
 Nordquist
 Ranch.
 The
 main
draw
of
this
spot
was
the
Clark’s
Fork
River
and
the
spectacular
trout
fishing
it
afforded.
 Upon
arrival
he
entered
the
Clark’s
Fork
valley
folklore
by
becoming
the
first
person
to
drive
a
 car
all
the
way
to
the
ranch,
at
that
time
the
road
was
passable
only
up
to
Crandall
Creek.
The
 car
 he
 did
 it
 in
 was
 the
 Ford
 Runabout
 that
 had
 made
 some
 famous
 runs
 to
 Pamplona
 some
 years
before.(2)
Polly
Copeland
a
resident
of
the
ranch
remembers
their
arrival:
 

 
 
 








An
old
travel‐worn
Model‐T
‘Tin
Lizzy’
with
an
ax
and
shovel
slung
along
the
side,


 joggled
through
the
L—T
Ranch
Gate.
It
was
the
first
automobile
that
ever
dared
to




 travel
the
perilous
horse
trail,
traversing
the
roaring
Clark’s
Fork
at
intervals
from

 Crandall
on.
There
at
the
wheel
was
Ernest
Hemingway
with
his
charming,
black

 haired
second
wife
Pauline
Pfeiffer,
and
his
seven
year
old
son
‘Bumbie’
straight

 from
Paris
where
he
lived
with
his
mother.
One
felt
Ernest
Hemingway’s
magnetic,

 outgoing
personality
right
away
as
he
greeted
the
little
group
of
dudes
awaiting
his

 arrival.
He
was
tall,
slender,
with
dark
hair,
mustache
and
laughing
black
eyes.
He

 was
evidently
pleased
with
the
beauty
of
the
country,
and
the
primitive
quality
of
the

 ranch.

It
was
not
long
before
Ernest
and
Pauline,
in
genuine
friendliness,
were
very

 much
a
part
of
the
group.
(3)
 
 His
first
couple
of
weeks
were
occupied
with
fly
fishing
and
preparing
his
collection
In
Our
 Time
 for
 a
 second
 printing.
 In
 a
 letter
 to
 his
 editor,
 Max
 Perkins,
 mailed
 from
 the
 Cooke
 City
 General
Store
and
Post
Office
on
August
12,
1930
he
wrote:
 
 
 









Dear
Max,
 









Have
gone
over
I.O.T.
also
The
Up
In
Michigan.
I’ve
re‐written
it
to
keep
from
being

 









libelous
but
to
do
so
takes
all
the
character
away…
If
I
take
the
town
away
it
loses
its




 









veracity…However
I
know
you
will
not
publish
it
with
the
last
part
entire
and
if
any
of

 









that
is
cut
out
there
is
no
story.
 
 The
 work
 on
 In
 Our
 Time
 seems
 to
 have
 been
 a
 distraction
 during
 this
 time
 with
 Hemingway
 preferring
 to
 spend
 his
 time
 at
 the
 ranch
 with
 Pauline
 and
 Jack
 either
 fishing
 or
 working
on
his
new
novel.
From
the
same
letter:

 
 









Am
going
well
on
the
new
book
‐
have
something
over
40,000
words
done‐
have
worked

 









well
6
days
of
every
week
since
got
here.
Have
6
more
cases
of
beer
good
for
6
more


 









chapters
‐
If
I
put
in
an
expense
account
for
this
new
bullfight
book
it
would
be
something

 









for
the
accounting
department
to
study.(4)
 
 
 The
 bullfight
 book
 mentioned
 is,
 of
 course,
 Death
 in
 the
 Afternoon.
 The
 Hemingway’s
 continued
 to
 get
 more
 and
 more
 comfortable
 at
 the
 L—T.
 Pauline
 would
 fish
 with
 Ernest
 


37



sometimes,
but
mostly
looked
after
Jack,
who
at
seven
was
becoming
“obsessed
with
the
idea
of
 catching
trout.
Sometimes
when
his
father
fished
close
to
the
lodge,
Jack
was
allowed
to
watch
if
 he
didn’t
spook
the
trout.”(5)
Hemingway
spent
his
time
working
on
‘Death’,
fishing
and
getting
 to
know
the
ranch
hands,
gleaning
information,
drinking,
and
developing
friendships
with
men
 such
 as
 Smokey
 Royce,
 Huck
 Mees,
 and
 Floyd
 Allington.
 It
 was
 Allington
 who
 he
 later
 told
 “…that
the
best
fishing
in
the
world
was
the
Clarks
Fork
branch
of
the
Yellowstone.”(6)

He
also
 developed
friendships
with
Ivan
Wallace,
John
Staebe
and
Leland
Stanford
Weaver
or
‘Chub.’
 In
Baker’s
biography,
we
see
a
typical
exchange
between
Wallace
and
Hemingway:

 
 








Sometimes
he
walked
to
the
coral
after
breakfast,
leaning
on
the
fence
watching
Ivan


 





Wallace
saddling
up
the
horses
for
the
morning
riders.
 









Ivan,
“How
about
a
little
fishing
this
morning?”
 









Ernest,
“Can’t
do
it,
got
to
work.”
 









A
half
hour
later….
 









Ernest,
“Ivan,
you’ve
ruined
the
working
day
for
me.
Let’s
go
fishing.”
(7)
 
 
 Wallace
worked
at
the
L—T
from
1930‐32.
In
1970
he
told
Addison
Bragg
of
the
Billings
 Gazette
 that
 “Hemingway
 could
 be
 lured
 away
 from
 his
 writing
 by
 nothing
 more
 complicated
 than
a
friendly
drink
and
talk.”
And,
“I
guess
I
probably
knew
him
when
he
was
happiest…when
 times
were
good
and
happy…”
“They
were
quite
a
threesome,”
Laura
Weaver
recalled
in
the
same
 article,
 “Ernest
 Hemingway,
 Chub,
 who
 had
 a
 nose
 for
 game
 and
 was
 an
 excellent
 camp
 cook;
 and
Ivan
a
very
good
fisherman
and
fishing
guide.”(8)
Of
all
these
men
Hemingway
was
closest
 to
Chub
Weaver
and
the
two
remained
friends
their
entire
lives.
 
 




In
 between
 rainstorms
 Hemingway
 fished
 the
 Clark’s
 Fork
 with
 moderate
 success
 until
 his
 buddy
 Bill
Horne
arrived
with
his
new
wife
Bunny.
Ernest
and
Bill
hit
the
river
and
landed
49
 good
rainbows
using
particular
fishing
flies
named
“McGinty’s”
and
“Grey
Palmers.”
Hemingway
 had
 not
 always
 been
 a
 fly
 fisherman
 though,
 as
 his
 eldest
 son
 points
 out
 in
 his
 foreword
 to
 Hemingway
 on
 Fishing:
 “‘Big
 Two
 Hearted
 River’
 more
 than
 made
 that
 point,
 as
 did
 ‘The
 Last
 Good
Country’
and
the
trout
fishing
on
the
Irati
in
The
Sun
Also
Rises.

I
remember
that
when
we
 went
to
L
Bar
T
Ranch
near
Cook
City…There
was
a
wide
selection
of
Hardy
tackle…”
(9)

 In
his
book
The
Misadventures
of
a
Fly
Fisherman,
Jack
Hemingway
gives
us
a
little
more
 insight
into
his
father’s
fishing
tackle
and
strategy:

 
 









Papa
was
a
pretty
straight‐forward
wet
fly
fisherman.
He
used
hardy
tackle
and
his

 









leaders
were
already
tied
up
with
three
flies.
His
favorites
were
a
McGinty
for
the
top,

 









a
cock‐y‐bondhu
for
the
middle
and
a
woodcock
green
for
the
tail
fly.
He
sometimes

 









fished
with
single
eyed
flies
and
added
a
dropper.
At
the
ranch,
for
these,
he
preferred

 









a
Hardy’s
worm
fly
and
the
shrimp
fly.
Ninety
percent
of
the
time,
Papa
was
an
across

 









and
down‐stream
caster
whose
team
of
flies
swam
or
skittered
across
the
current
so

 









that
a
fish
taking
pretty
much
hooked
himself.

He
played
fish
gently
and
well
and
with

 38
 



the
necessary
calm
that
eliminates
hurrying
a
fish
too
fast
or
laying
it
too
long
which
is

 









just
as
great
a
sin.(10)
 
 As
 August
 progressed
 heavy
 rainfall
 muddied
 the
 river
 and
 on
 the
 21st
 the
 Horne’s
 left.
 The
next
morning
Smokey
Royce,
Chub
Weaver,
Ivan
Wallace
and
Ernest
Hemingway
set
out
to
 check
on
a
bear
bait
up
the
north
fork
of
Crandall
Creek.
Ralph
Glidden
tells
the
story
this
way
 in
his
History
of
the
Cooke
City
Area:
 
 









Hemingway
was
riding
a
skittish
mare
named
Goofy
when
she
bolted
into
the
trees.
A

 









sharp
branch
sliced
Hemingway’s
chin,
and
neither
him
or
Ivan
were
able
to
stop
the

 









bleeding.
Borrowing
a
car
from
the
Ranger
at
Crandall
Creek
they
sped
to
the
nearest

 









doctor
in
Cody.
The
doctor
wanted
to
put
the
writer
to
sleep
but
all
Hemingway
wanted

 









was
some
whiskey.
Finally
they
got
a
bottle
of
Old
Oscar
Pepper
and
Hemingway’s
work

 









was
completed.(11)
 
 
 They
 had
 arrived
 at
 midnight
 and
 the
 only
 doctor
 they
 could
 find
 was
 a
 converted
 veterinarian
named
Dr.
Trueblood.
The
bootleg
whiskey
the
doctor
had
on
hand
was
apparently
 unacceptable
so
at
Hemingway’s
urging
the
good
doctor
wrote
and
filled
the
prescription
for
the
 Oscar
Pepper.
The
Crandall
Ranger
had
inexplicably
sent
his
daughter
with
the
two
men
to
look
 after
 the
 car.
 As
 she
 drove
 the
 two
 men
 back
 from
 Cody
 to
 the
 high
 country
 she
 had
 to
 stop
 regularly
to
open
the
cattle
gates
and
pass
through.
At
each
of
these
stops
Hemingway
and
Ivan
 would
take
another
pull
off
the
bottle
until
they
were
back
at
Crandall.
They
slept
it
off
for
the
 first
part
of
the
day
then
headed
back
up
to
the
dead
horse
Wallace
had
left
for
bear
bait.
After
 an
experience
he
couldn’t
have
written
or
dreamt
up;
with
Ivan,
Smokey
and
Chub,
while
riding
 Goofy,
 patched
 up
 by
 Dr.
 Trueblood
 with
 a
 little
 help
 from
 Oscar
 Pepper—Hemingway
 discovered
he
had
his
first
bear.
It
was
a
large
brown
colored
Black
Bear.
The
last
of
the
whiskey
 was
used
to
get
through
the
skinning
of
the
bear
which
had
picked
up
most
of
the
maggots
from
 the
rotting
horse.
The
next
day,
upon
returning
to
the
L—T,
Hemingway
approached
Lawrence
 Nordquist
 about
 buying
 Goofy.
 Lawrence
 tried
 to
 discourage
 him
 saying
 there
 were
 far
 better
 saddle
horses
in
his
stable
he
could
buy.
Hemingway
growled
through
his
newly
askew
stitched
 up
face,
“I
don’t
want
to
ride
him,
I
want
to
shoot
him
for
bear
bait.”(12)
 Hemingway
 had
 to
 return
 to
 Cody
 to
 have
 his
 chin
 re‐stitched.
 Before
 leaving,
 he
 went
 back
into
the
corral
and
ripped
long
strands
of
hair
from
Goofy’s
hide
which
he
had
the
doctor
 use
to
re‐stitch
his
chin.(13)
By
the
time
this
episode
had
ended
the
river
had
cleared
and
the
fish
 were
 rising.
 Hemingway
 took
 Jack
 up
 to
 the
 bait
 a
 week
 later
 and
 shot
 another
 black
 bear.
 Pauline
and
Jack
left
the
Ranch
on
Sept
14
as
preparations
for
the
opening
day
of
hunting
season
 began.
 His
 excitement
 about
 the
 upcoming
 hunt
 is
 conveyed
 in
 this
 letter
 to
 Henry(Mike)
 Strater:
 
 
 
 


39



Sept
10,
1930
 Dear
Mike,
 I
 wish
 to
 hell
 you
 and
 Charles
 (Thompson)
 could
 come
 here
 to
 hunt.
 Take
 the
 train
 to
 Gardiner,
 
 MT.
 Stage
 will
 bring
 you
 to
 Cooke
 City
 ‐
 I’ll
 meet
 you
 there
 with
 horses…
 License
 60
 bucks
 gives
 you
 1
 elk,1
 deer,
 1
 bear,
 game
 birds
 and
 trout.
 15
 bucks
 extra
 for
 mountain
sheep.
You
ought
to
see
the
west
anyway.
 Hope
I’ll
here
you’re
coming,
 
 
 Best
always
Hem(14)
 
 That
 fall
 their
 hunt
 would
 not
 disappoint.
 Hemingway
 first
 claimed
 a
 bighorn
 sheep.
 After
a
couple
of
days
ride
he
headed
up
Pilot
Creek,
this
time
on
a
horse
he
loved,
Old
Bess
was
 a
black
mare
with
a
white
stripe
on
her
face.
He
was
able
to
take
her
on
the
sheep
trails,
rock
 slides
and
boulder
fields
flanking
Pilot
and
Index
peaks
and
shoot
a
big
ram
with
a
heavy
curl.
 This
 was
 the
 only
 time
 Hemingway
 shot
 a
 bighorn
 sheep
 and
 he
 shot
 it
 right
 under
 the
 great
 peaks:


 
 








The
old
ram
was
purple
grey,
his
rump
was
white
and
when
he
raised
his
head
you
saw
the



 








great
heavy
curl
of
his
horns.
It
was
the
white
of
his
rump
that
had
betrayed
him
to
you
in

 








the
green
of
the
junipers
when
you
had
lain
in
the
lee
of
a
rock,
out
of
the
wind,
three

 








miles
away,
looking
carefully
at
every
yard
of
the
high
country
through
a
pair
of
good
zeiss

 








glasses.
(15)

 
 Hemingway
 would
 return
 to
 these
 same
 slopes
 two
 years
 later
 with
 his
 friend
 Charles
 Thompson,
this
time
hunting
for
nine
days
with
no
luck,
enduring
what
he
called
the
“Damndest
 ledge
work
you
ever
saw.”
(16)Next
there
was
his
first
bull
elk.
Hemingway
and
Ivan
crawled
so
 close
 that
 through
 binoculars
 “they
 could
 see
 his
 chest
 muscles
 swell
 as
 he
 lifted
 his
 head”
 to
 reveal
a
trophy
6x6
rack.(17)

 
 *
 While
his
friends
Henry
Strater
and
Charles
Thompson
didn’t
visit
the
ranch
that
fall,
friend
and
 fellow
author
Jon
Dos
Passos
sent
word
that
he
was
coming.
Before
he
arrived
Hemingway
and
 Ivan
took
another
trip
up
Crandall
Creek.
On
this
trip
he
met
John
Staebe
and
his
first
grizzly
 bear.
Staebe,
who
would
later
appear
in
the
Green
 Hills
 of
 Africa
(as
John
Staib)
was
a
German
 WWI
veteran
who
had
homesteaded
the
Ghost
Creek
Ranch
near
Crandall.(18)
Although
he
was
 deaf,
he
was
a
mountain
man
of
the
highest
order
and
was
well
respected
by
all
of
the
hands
at
 the
L—T.
The
grizzly
bear
would
make
an
even
deeper
impression
on
Hemingway
as
he
would
 remember
it
nine
years
later:
 
 










You
heard
a
crash
of
timber
and
thought
it
was
a
cow
elk
bolting,
and
then
there
they

 










were,
in
the
broken
shadow,
running
with
an
easy
lurching
smoothness,
the
afternoon
sun

 40
 



making
their
coats
a
soft
bristling
silver.
(19)
 
 
 On
the
21st
of
October,
Dos
Passos
arrived
in
Billings
and
headed
up
to
the
ranch.
He
did
 pull
an
elk
tag
but
was
too
near‐sighted
and
had
little
knowledge
of
hunting
and
firearms.
He
 had
 remarked
 at
 the
 ranch
 that
 Hemingway
 “had
 the
 ranch
 hands
 under
 his
 thumb.”(20)
 Dos
 Passos,
 the
 outsider
 in
 the
 group,
 seems
 to
 have
 misread
 the
 reciprocal
 relationship
 forming
 between
 Hemingway
 and
 the
 men
 at
 the
 ranch.
 While
 he
 may
 well
 have
 had
 them
 under
 his
 spell
 he
 was
 most
 certainly
 under
 theirs.
 For
 ten
 days
 they
 travelled
 the
 high
 country:
 Timber
 Creek,
Crandall
Creek,
and
the
Crazy
Lakes.
Hemingway
and
the
hands
hunted
while
Dos
Passos
 enjoyed
the
scenery.

 On
Halloween
night
the
two
writers,
along
with
Floyd
Allington,
piled
into
Hemingway’s
 Ford
 with
 warm
 clothes,
 blankets,
 and
 a
 quart
 of
 bourbon.
 Floyd’s
 fishing
 prowess
 had
 Hemingway
luring
him
during
his
four
month
stay
at
the
ranch
to
ply
his
trade
in
the
waters
of
 Key
West.
Allington
was
excited
enough
at
the
idea
that
he
was
willing
to
ride
in
the
rumble
seat
 wrapped
 in
 blankets.
 They
 drove
 through
 Cooke
 City
 and
 the
 Northern
 part
 of
 Yellowstone,
 camping
 for
 the
 night
 at
 Mammoth
 Hot
 Springs,
 “within
 earshot
 of
 the
 retching
 gurgle
 of
 a
 warm
geyser.”(21)
The
following
morning
they
headed
out
of
the
park,
through
Paradise
Valley,
 and
 on
 toward
 Billings
 until
 driving
 into
 a
 ditch
 outside
 Laurel
 just
 after
 dusk.
 Since
 ‘loose
 gravel’,
 ‘the
 lights
 of
 an
 oncoming
 car’
 and
 ‘a
 car
 backing
 out
 of
 a
 driveway’
 were
 all
 given
 as
 reasons
for
the
crash,
it
is
easy
to
assume
that
the
bourbon
might
have
had
something
to
do
with
 it
 as
 well.
 While
 Hemingway
 broke
 his
 arm
 and
 Floyd
 Allington
 dislocated
 a
 shoulder
 in
 the
 accident,
Dos
Passos
escaped
unscathed.
A
passing
motorist
picked
them
up
and
drove
them
to
 St.
 Vincent’s
 hospital
 in
 Billings,
 Hemingway
 riding
 in
 the
 back
 seat
 with
 his
 arm
 pinned
 between
 his
 knees.
 Upon
 checking
 in
 Hemingway
 was
 asked
 his
 occupation
 and
 he
 replied
 ‘writer.’
 The
 receptionist,
 taking
 in
 his
 appearance,
 wrote
 on
 the
 form
 ‘rider’.(22)
 
 He
 was
 to
 spend
 the
 next
 seven
 weeks
 at
 St.
 Vincent’s.
 The
 break
 was
 serious,
 an
 oblique
 spiral
 fracture
 above
the
elbow,
nearly
compound.
Three
years
later
a
graphic
description
of
the
wound
and
its
 effect
on
Hemingway
as
a
hunter
would
appear
in
Green
Hills
of
Africa:
 
 









That
day
of
watching
the
camel
flies
working
under
the
horses
tail,
having
had
them


 









myself,
gave
me
more
horror
than
anything
I
remember
except
one
time
in
a
hospital

 









with
my
right
arm
broken
off
short
between
the
elbow
and
the
shoulder,
the
back
of
the

 









hand
having
hung
down
against
my
back,
the
points
of
the
bone
having
cut
up
the
flesh
of

 









the
biceps
until
it
finally
rotted,
swelled,
burst,
and
sloughed
off
in
pus.
Alone
with
the

 









pain
in
the
night
in
the
fifth
week
of
not
sleeping
I
thought
suddenly
how
a
bull
elk
must

 









feel
if
you
break
a
shoulder
and
he
gets
away
and
in
that
night
I
lay
and
felt
it
all,
the

 









whole
thing
as
it
would
happen
from
the
shock
of
the
bullet
to
the
end
of
the
business
and,

 









being
a
little
out
of
my
head,
thought
perhaps
what
I
was
going
through
was
a
punishment

 









for
all
hunters.
Then,
getting
well,
decided
if
it
was
a
punishment
I
had
paid
it
and
at
least

 









I
knew
what
I
was
doing.
I
did
nothing
that
had
not
been
done
to
me.
I
had
been
shot
and





 


41



I
had
been
crippled
and
gotten
away.
I
expected,
always
to
be
killed
by
one
thing
or






 









another
and
I,
truly,
did
not
mind
that
anymore.
Since
I
still
loved
to
hunt
I
resolved
that
I




 









would
only
shoot
as
long
I
could
kill
cleanly
and
as
soon
as
I
lost
that
ability
I
would

 









stop.(23)
 







 In
 the
 hospital
 he
 was
 treated
 by
 a
 Sister
 Florence
 Cloonan,
 entertained
 by
 a
 small
 transistor
 radio,
 and
 accompanied
 in
 his
 misery
 by
 a
 Mexican
 gambler
 who
had
 been
 gut
 shot
 twice
 over
 a
 card
 game.
 He
 was
 fond
 of
 sister
 Florence
 and
 must
 have
 had
 a
 sense
 of
 déjà
 vu
 given
 his
 relationship
 with
 Agnes
 Von
 Kurosky
 during
 his
 lengthy
 hospital
 stay
 in
 Italy
 and
 fictionalized
in
A
Farewell
to
Arms.
The
Gambler,
with
his
stoic
acceptance
of
his
fate
compares
 well
with
other
characters
in
Hemingway’s
short
fiction,
such
as
Ole
Anderson
in
“The
Killers”
 who,
like
the
Mexican,
“follows
his
own
stoical
code
and
refuses
to
denounce
his
assailants.”(24)
 He
is
certainly
kin
to
Blindie
who
also
refuses
to
condemn
the
man
who
wronged
him
in
“A
Man
 of
 the
 World.”
 In
 fact,
 wounding
 and
 injury,
 and
 how
 men
 deal
 with
 them
 physically
 and
 psychologically,
is
a
major
theme
throughout
the
work:
Frederick
Henry’s
injury
is
central
to
A
 Farewell
to
Arms;
Harry
Morgan
loses
an
arm;
Robert
Jordan
breaks
a
leg,
etc.
So,
as
Hemingway
 lay
there
in
St.
Vincent’s
he
was
dealing
with
his
second
serious
injury
of
his
visit
and
both
the
 physical
and
emotional
demands
that
came
with
it.
This
episode
and
its
details
would
work
its
 way
into
The
Green
Hills
of
Africa,
For
Whom
the
Bell
Tolls,
and
was
perhaps
the
blue
print
for
 the
irrational,
pain
and
alcohol
influenced
behavior
of
Harry,
the
narrator
of
Hemingway’s
short
 story
masterpiece
“The
Snows
of
Kilimanjaro.”




 His
stay
at
St.
Vincent’s
is
covered
by
Carlos
Baker
in
his
biography
and
in
a
Montana
PBS
 documentary
entitled
Paradise
and
Purgatory;
Hemingway
at
the
L—T
and
St.
Vincent’s
 Hospital.
 The
 most
 entertaining
 account
 of
 the
 hospital
 stay
 however
 is
 from
 Hemingway
 himself.
 The
 riotous
 short
 story
 “The
 Gambler,
 the
 Nun
 and
 the
 Radio”
 is,
 according
 to
 the
 author
an
absolutely
true
account
of
his
extended
stay
in
Billings.
Towards
the
end
of
his
stay,
as
 his
arm
healed,
Hemingway
was
able
to
leave
the
hospital
for
short
periods
of
time.
He
visited
 the
 home
 of
 his
 doctor,
 a
 renowned
 orthopedic
 surgeon
 named
 Dr.
 Allard.
 The
 doctor
 “who
 liked
 Hemingway
 personally,
 found
 his
 writing
 distasteful
 and
 often
 took
 him
 to
 task
 for
 the
 language
 he
 employed
 ‐
 so
 much
 so
 that
 Allard’s
 son
 Joe
 remembered
 that
 he
 and
 his
 brother
 and
sister
were
afraid
at
times
that
Hemingway,
who
appeared
to
the
children
to
be
a
‘bear
of
a
 man,’
would
beat
up
their
father.”(25)
 After
leaving
the
hospital
the
Hemingway’s
were
able
to
reach
Pauline’s
home
in
Piggot,
 Arkansas,
by
Christmas.
He
already
disliked
Piggot
and
when,
while
still
limping
and
unshaven,
 he
was
labelled
a
tramp
by
a
large
group
of
school
children
who
then
chased
him
through
the
 streets
hurling
snowballs
at
him
until
he
reached
the
Pfeiffer
house.
His
dislike
quickly
turned
to
 hatred
and
the
Hemingways
soon
headed
back
to
Key
West.
 The
 accident
 and
 recuperation
 may
 have
 soured
 the
 memory
 of
 that
 first
 year
 in
 the
 Yellowstone
 High
 Country,
 but
 by
 the
 new
 year
 the
 experience
 had
 allowed
 him
 to
 finish
 his
 page
proofs
for
the
reissue
of
In
Our
Time,
craft
Death
in
the
Afternoon
almost
in
its
entirety
and
 42
 



accrue
 the
 experience
 that
 would
 later
 become
 “The
 Gambler,
 the
 Nun
 and
 the
 Radio.”
 Along
 with
the
best
trout
fishing
of
his
life,
he
had
also
shot
his
first
bear,
elk
and
sheep,
seen
his
first
 grizzly,
 accumulated
 a
 few
 new
 scars
 and
 several
 new
 friends.
 Although
 Floyd
 Allington
 had
 missed
the
chance
to
accompany
Hemingway
to
Key
West,
Chub
Weaver
seized
the
opportunity
 and
delivered
the
repaired
Ford
to
Hemingway
and
stayed
on
for
the
rest
of
the
winter
for
the
 fishing.
Olive
and
Lawrence
Nordquist
then
flew
out
and
by
Valentine’s
Day,
just
over
a
month
 and
 a
 half
 since
 the
 writer
 had
 left
 Montana,
 the
 Hemingways,
 the
 Nordquists,
 and
 Chub
 Weaver
were
fishing
together,
3000
miles
from
the
L—T.
It
was
about
this
time
that
Hemingway
 found
out
they
were
pregnant
with
Gregory,
his
third
son
and
second
with
Pauline.

The
baby
 was
 due
 by
 November,
 meaning
 the
 couple
 would
 not
 be
 able
 to
 return
 to
 the
 ranch
 in
 the
 Beartooths
until
the
summer
of
1932.
 After
traveling
to
Spain
to
gather
pictures
for
the
finalizing
of
Death
in
the
Afternoon,
the
 Hemingways
returned
to
the
Midwest
for
Pauline
to
give
birth.
Hemingway
had
been
planning
a
 trip
 to
 Africa
 with
 his
 friends
 Charles
 Thompson,
 Henry
 Strater
 and
 Archie
 McCleish.
 The
 research
had
been
done
and
arrangements
had
been
made.
In
April
of
1932
however,
McCleish
 had
bowed
out
and
by
June,
Hemingway
had
done
the
same.
He
gave
‘his
eyesight’
and
‘so
much
 going
 on
 in
 America’
 as
 his
 excuses
 but
 his
 actual
 reason
 seems
 to
 have
 been
 his
 eager
 determination
 to
 spend
 another
 summer
 and
 fall
 fishing
 and
 hunting
 at
 the
 Nordquist
 Ranch.
 One
more
motivating
factor
was
that
he
was
seething
with
“damned
good
stories
that
he
wanted
 to
tell.”(26)
 
 
 
 
 Chapter
3:
1932
 th On
 July12 
 1932
 the
 Hemingway
 family
 rumbled
 across
 the
 Clark’s
 Fork
 river
 and
 settled
 back
 into
 cabin
 #1
 on
 the
 L—T
 Ranch.
 Hemingway
 was
 obviously
 happy
 to
 be
 back.
 Prohibition,
 approaching
 civil
 war
 in
 Spain,
 the
 Great
 Depression,
 and
 the
 upcoming
 election
 all
 seemed
 a
 world
away.
He
spent
his
first
couple
of
days
re‐acquainting
himself
with
the
sights,
sounds
and
 smells
of
the
ranch
and
the
Clark’s
Fork
valley:
The
aroma
of
sage
penetrated
by
trout,
bacon,
 and
 onions
 wafting
 from
 the
 kitchen.
 Rising
 early
 each
 morning
 he
 watched
 the
 sunlight
 illuminate
 the
 peaks
 of
 Pilot
 and
 Index
 and
 ease
 down
 the
 slopes
 he
 had
 hunted
 two
 years
 before.
Lawrence
Nordquist
introduced
the
writer
to
the
Sidley’s
cabin,
which
was
on
the
river
 and
provided
a
place
to
get
away
and
get
some
work
done.
After
the
Hemingway’s
first
visit
to
 the
ranch
they
received
a
steady
stream
of
visitors
to
their
home
in
Key
West.
Floyd
Allington
 tried
to
visit
but
only
made
it
as
far
as
Laurel.
The
Nordquists
and
Chub
Weaver
visited
in
the
 Spring
of
1931,
and
the
Sidley’s,
part
owners
of
the
L—T,
visited
in
the
summer
of
that
same
year.
 During
 their
 visit,
 while
 Hemingway
 and
 Mr.
 Sidley
 were
 offshore
 fishing,
 Pauline
 and
 Mrs.
 Sidley
went
swimming
at
the
Bayview
Park
pool.
While
it
is
unclear
what
exactly
happened,
Mrs.
 Sidley
almost
drowned
in
the
pool
and
was
thought
to
be
dead
when
she
was
pulled
ashore
by
 


43



Pauline.
 She
 was
 resuscitated
 and
 taken
 to
 recover
 at
 the
 Hemingway
 home.(1)
 From
 that
 moment
forward
the
Hemingway
family
was
granted
access
to
the
Sidley
Cabin
whenever
they
 visited
the
ranch.
This
cabin
was
bigger
and
was
also
perched
right
over
the
Clark’s
Fork.
Olive
 Nordquist
remembers
seeing
Hemingway
“emerges
from
the
door,
wiping
his
glasses,
squinting
 at
 the
intense
 blue
 of
the
cloudless
sky,
gazing
at
 Index…inflating
 his
lungs
with
the
clean
 air,
 and
 padding
 softly
 back
 in
 his
 moccasins
 for
 another
 hour
 at
 the
 desk.”(2)
 
 While
 he
 had
 no
 novel
 in
 progress,
 Hemingway
 did
 have
 time
 to
 finish
 “The
 Light
 of
 the
 World.”(3)
 He
 would
 write
 and
 Pauline
 would
 type
 in
 between
 trips
 to
 fish,
 pick
 wild
 berries,
 or
 shoot
 birds.
 After
 pulling
 Mrs.
 Sidley
 from
 the
 pool
 in
 Key
 West,
 and
 holding
 her
 own
 on
 fishing
 trips
 and
 bird
 hunts,
Pauline,
with
her
fly
rod,
her
.28
gauge
shotgun
and
her
cocktail
recipes,
had
gained
the
 respect
of
everyone
at
the
L—T.
 During
 this
 time
 Hemingway
 renewed
 his
 friendships
 with
 Ivan
 Wallace
 and
 Chub
 Weaver.
 Prohibition
 was
 still
 the
 law
 of
 the
 land,
 but
 Red
 Lodge
 moonshine
 was
 readily
 available.
 The
 Allington
 brothers,
 among
 others,
 would
 run
 shipments
 of
 Red
 Lodge’s
 finest
 products
over
the
11,000ft.
Beartooth
Pass.
According
to
Laura
Weaver,
a
typical
order—if
guests
 were
expected—would
be
two
barrels
of
wine
and
a
case
of
whiskey,
some
of
which
was
always
 waiting
next
to
a
bucket
of
ice
in
his
cabin
at
the
end
of
each
day.(4)
While
periodically
working
 on
short
stories
at
the
Sidley
cabin,
he
had
no
major
works
in
progress.
With
hunting
season
still
 two
months
away,
Hemingway
had
time
to
relax
and
properly
settle
into
life
at
the
ranch.
Olive
 Nordquist
remembered
that
summer
fondly:
 
 

 He
was
always
being
kind
and
considerate
of
people
and
took
great
care
with
his
son



 Bumby.
Somebody
had
to
always
be
with
the
boy.
I
think
he
feared
kidnapping.
This


 was
time
of
the
Lindberg
baby
kidnapping.
The
Hemingways
were
staying
at
our
ranch
in
 Wyoming.
We
were
sitting
in
the
lodge
and
it
was
Bumby’s
bedtime.
It
was
dark
and
the
 boy
was
only
5
or
6
years
old.
We
knew
he
was
afraid
to
walk
across
the
ranch
alone
but
 no
one
knew
what
to
say
without
embarrassing
him.
All
of
a
sudden
Ernest
jumped
up!
 “Damn”
 he
 said
 “I
 forgot
 something
 at
 the
 cabin.
 I’ll
 have
 to
 walk
 back
 with
 you
 Bumby.”(5)
 
 

 While
Gregory
was
too
young
to
remember
this
incident,
it
didn’t
surprise
him:
“He
was
 always
considerate
of
our
fears
of
the
dark,
he
said
he’d
been
so
afraid
of
the
dark
after
his
injury
 in
Italy
he
had
to
sleep
with
the
light
on
for
six
months.”

Gregory
would
later
tell
Joan
Haines
of
 the
Associated
Press:
“Some
of
my
happiest
memories
are
of
the
days
we
spent
at
a
Cooke
City
 ranch
with
my
father.”(7)
 It
seems
the
trips
to
the
Beartooths
were
split
into
summer
and
fall.
Summer
was
spent
 fishing
the
Clark’s
Fork
and
its
contributing
creeks
and
hanging
around
the
ranch
with
Pauline
 and
the
boys.
There
were
trips
on
horseback,
on
foot,
and
in
the
Ford
to
Cooke
City
and
Cody;
 once
 even
 to
 Powell,
 Wyoming,
 so
 Pauline
 could
 attend
 first
 Friday
 mass.
 In
 an
 interview
 for
 Montana
 PBS
 Patrick
 Hemingway
 remembered
 his
 parents
 during
 this
 time:
 “My
 dad
 and
 my
 44
 



mother
were
both
fly
fisherman,
in
fact
they
would
fish
together—they’d
wet
fly
fish,
one
on
one
 side
 of
 the
 river
 and
 one
 on
 the
 other
 side.
 
 Fishing
 was
 very
 much
 an
 ingredient
 in
 that
 marriage.”(8)
 In
September
the
Hemingway’s
entertained
their
friends
Gerald
and
Sara
Murphy.

 They
 had
 known
 the
 Murphy’s
 since
 their
 time
 in
 Paris.
 They
 were
 very
 much
 a
 high
 society
 couple,
Gerald
Murphy
even
being
credited
by
some
for
having
invented
the
martini.
While
the
 cuisine
at
the
ranch
did
not
impress
the
Murphys,
the
beauty
of
the
place
did.
Hemingway
took
 the
two
families
up
to
the
Crazy
Lakes
to
camp
and
fish
and
then
took
Gerald
up
Pilot
Creek.
In
 her
1982
memoir,
Sara
&
Gerald,
Honoria
Murphy
Donelly
remembered:
 

 Of
all
her
parents
famous
friends
and
unfamous
ones
as
well,
it
was
Hemingway
who
paid
 closest
 attention
 to
 her
 and
 her
 brothers,
 who
 seemed
 to
 care
 for
 and
 understand
 each
 one
of
them
as
if
they
were
his
own…
Hemingway
who
had
to
catch
more
rainbows
than
 anybody,
made
big
campfires
at
night
and
sat
around
with
the
kids
in
a
goofy
Tyrolean
 hat,
roasting
marshmallows,
telling
scary
stories.(9)
 
 When
 long‐time
 friend
 and
 hunting
 companion
 Charles
 Thompson
 arrived
 in
 Cody,
 Pauline
 and
 the
 boys
 left,
 along
 with
 the
 Murphy
 clan.
 Thompson
 was
 one
 of
 Hemingway’s
 closest
 friends.
 He
 was
 from
 Key
 West
 and
 was
 instrumental
 in
 Hemingway’s
 mastery
 of
 salt
 water
fishing
and
provided
inspiration
for
the
Harry
Morgan
character
in
To
Have
and
Have
Not.
 A
year
after
visiting
Hemingway
at
the
Ranch
Thompson
would
join
him
in
Africa.

 




Hemingway,
Charles,
Ivan
and
Chub
headed
up
Pilot
Creek
and
back
out
onto
the
slopes
of
 Pilot
 and
 Index
 where
 he
 had
 shot
 the
 first
 and
 only
 bighorn
 of
 his
 life
 two
 years
 earlier.
 Thompson
struggled
with
the
harsh
terrain
and
the
altitude
and
because
the
six
day
hunt
turned
 up
nothing
they
then
decided
to
head
down
country.
After
a
thirty‐five
mile
ride
the
four
men
 made
camp
on
Timber
Creek
hoping
for
bear
and
elk.
It
was
Thompson
who
landed
the
first
elk
 of
the
season,
a
large
bull.
Hemingway
then
shot
one
and
they
shot
one
together.



 After
a
celebratory
evening
of
elk
steaks,
moonshine,
and
story‐telling
around
the
fire,
he
 confided
his
feelings
on
suicide
to
Chub
Weaver,
saying
he
would
never
hesitate
to
kill
himself
if
 the
conditions
were
bad
enough.(10)
Although
some
of
Hemingway’s
happiest
days
were
at
the
 Wyoming
ranch,
suicide
was
a
theme
that
ran
throughout
his
time
in
the
Beartooths.
His
father
 had
 killed
 himself
 shortly
 before
 his
 first
 trip
 out
 west
 and
 even
 though
 he
 considered
 his
 father’s
suicide
cowardly,
he
didn’t
consider
all
suicide
that
way,
often
hinting
that
that
might
be
 his
 own
 fate.
 The
 fact
 that
 he
 had
 this
 discussion
 with
 Chub
 Weaver
 was
 an
 indication
 that
 Weaver
was
entering
into
Hemingway’s
innermost
circle
of
friends.
 As
far
his
writing
was
concerned
that
summer,
Hemingway
was
mostly
editing
work
and
 answering
his
critics.
In
July
he
sent
his
final
proofs
for
Death
in
the
Afternoon
to
Max
Perkins:
 


45



Hope
 you
 get
 these
 proofs
 and
 letter
 pretty
 fast
 am
 sending
 them
 in
 to
 Gardner— 64miles—to
get
them
out
today.
…You
haven’t
even
asked
me
what
title
goes
on
the
front
 piece.(11)
 
 At
 the
 end
 of
 the
 same
 letter
 we
 see
 the
 beginning
 of
 the
 deterioration
 of
 the
 relationship
 between
Hemingway
and
F.
Scott
Fitzgerald:
 

 Poor
old
Scott.
He
should
have
swapped
Zelda
when
she
was
still
at
her
craziest
but
still
 saleable
back
5
or
6
years
ago
before
she
was
diagnosed
as
nutty.
He
is
the
great
tragedy
 of
talent
in
our
bloody
generation.
Well
here
comes
the
truck
‐
must
stop.
 
 





So
long
Max
‐
good
luck(12)








































 
 
 
 
 
























































































 From
 the
 final
 line
 of
 this
 letter
 we
 are
 given
 the
 image
 of
 Hemingway
 sitting
 on
 the
 stoop
of
 the
general
 store
and
 post
office
in
 Cooke
City,
 with
 the
final
version
 of
 Death
 in
 the
 Afternoon
(published
the
following
September)
bundled
under
his
arm
and
scribbling
about
the
 demise
 of
 F.
 Scott
 Fitzgerald
 while
 waiting
 for
 the
 mail
 truck
 to
 arrive
 from
 Gardiner.
 The
 remoteness
 of
 the
 ranch
 gave
 Hemingway
 the
 freedom
 and
 adventure
 he
 needed
 and
 his
 connection
 to
 the
 outpost
 town
 of
 Cooke
 City
 allowed
 him
 to
 keep
 up
 with
 his
 work
 and
 the
 goings
on
of
the
world
outside.

 In
his
next
letter
to
Perkins
on
Aug
9th
,
also
from
Cooke
City,
he
gives
his
final
go
ahead
 for
the
publication
of
‘Death’,
and
while
he
must
have
been
excited
to
finish
the
manuscript,
his
 real
 excitement
 seems
 to
 be
 toward
 the
 life
 he
 was
 living
 and
 discovering
 in
 the
 Yellowstone
 High
Country:
 
 
 We
have
been
down
sage
grouse
shooting
for
five
days
‐
finest
shooting
ever
in
my
life
– went
down
last
Wednesday
‐
shot
limit
everyday
‐
Never
shot
better
‐
would
have
given
 anything
for
you
to
be
there
‐
Just
got
back
today
and
found
final
proofs
‐
hit
rock
and
 broke
bottom
of
engine
‐
oil
pan
or
crank
case
‐
coasted
4
miles
back
to
Cooke.
 
 
 Then
back
to
being
a
writer
and
a
husband.
 
 Book
is
to
be
dedicated
‐
 





































To
Pauline

 




































Now
what
else?(13)
 
 From
here
he
goes
on
to
offer
“Mother
of
a
Queen,”
“The
Light
of
the
World,”
and
“An
Homage
 to
Switzerland”
to
Perkins
at
cut
rate
prices
in
an
effort
to
“bitch
cosmo”
and
take
another
swipe
 at
Fitzgerald
and
his
writer’s
block.
 In
a
letter
to
Cosmopolitan
Editor
Bill
Engel
sent
from
the
Nordquist
Ranch
earlier
that
 summer,
Hemingway
explains
the
strangeness
of
the
Switzerland
story:
 46
 



This
is
a
damned
good
story
‐
3
stories
in
one.
The
amount
of
dialogue
makes
it
 long
in
 space.
 It’s
 a
 new
 form
 for
 a
 story.
 The
 fact
 that
 all
 three
 parts
 open
 the
 same
 way
 or
 practically
 the
 same
 is
 intentional
 and
 is
 supposed
 to
 represent
 Switzerland
 metaphysically.(14)
 


 The
story
ends
with
the
main
character
revealing
to
a
stranger
who
remarks
that
he
would
like
 to
meet
his
father:
 
 
 “I’m
sure
he
would
of
liked
to
meet
you
but
he
died
last
year.
Shot

 himself,
oddly

 
















enough.”
 
 “I
am
very
truly
sorry.
I
am
sure
his
loss
was
a
blow
to
science
as
well
as
to
his
family.
 
















Science
took
it
awfully
well.”(15)
 
 This
 exchange
 at
 the
 end
 of
 “Homage
 to
 Switzerland”
 is
 the
 first
 we
 see
 of
 Hemingway
 dealing
literarily
with
his
father’s
suicide.
The
line
“Science
took
it
awfully
well”
tells
us
that
his
 family
didn’t.

 The
rest
of
Hemingway’s
letters
that
year
were
to
friends
and
critics.
The
letters
to
friends
 are
 long
 and
 sincere
 while
 his
 letters
 to
 critics
 were
 short,
 scathing
 and
 often
 hilarious.
 It
 was
 from
the
Nordquist
Ranch
that
he
answered
Paul
Romaine’s
famous
charge
that
he
was
obsessed
 with
“Lost
generations
and
bulls”:
 
 I
 wrote,
 in
 6
 weeks,
 one
 book
 about
 a
 few
 drunks
 and
 to
 show
 the
 superiority
 of
 the
 earlier
Hebrew
writers
over
the
later
quoted
Ecclesiastes
versus
G.
Stein.
This
was
some
 seven
years
ago.
Since
then
have
not
been
occupied
with
this
so‐called
(but
not
by
me)
 Lost
 Generation.
 About
 Bulls—for
 ten
 years
 or
 so
 bull
 fighting
 was
 my
 recreation
 and
 amusements…I
 wrote
 a
 book
 to
 clear
 them
 up
 and
 keep
 them
 ‐
 also
 something
 about
 Spain
which
I
know
a
little
about
having
lived
there.
I
have
to
live
sometimes
and
I
have
 quite
a
few
things
to
write
and
my
mind
is
not
occupied
with
lost
generations
and
bulls.
 
 The
address
here
is
Cooke,
Montana.(16)
 
 














































































 To
 the
 editors
 of
 Hound
 and
 Horn
 he
 wrote
 a
 response
 to
 their
 autopsy
 of
 Dos
 Passos,
 Fitzgerald,
and
himself.
His
tongue‐in‐cheek
reply
was
filled
with
sexual
innuendo
and
a
thinly
 veiled
attack
on
the
masculinity
of
the
article’s
author,
Mr.
Lawrence
Leighton.
Hound
and
Horn
 published
the
letter
in
their
Oct‐Dec
edition
in1932.(17)
 As
 harsh
 as
 Hemingway
 was
 to
 critics
 and
 fellow
 writers,
 he
 was
 himself
 immensely
 sensitive
 to
 criticism.
 So
 much
 so
 that
 he
 left
 a
 hunting
 trip
 with
 Thompson,
 Chub,
 and
 John
 Staebe
on
Timber
Creek
in
order
to
check
the
mail
for
reviews
after
the
release
of
Death
 in
 the
 Afternoon.
During
the
thirty
mile
ride
out
of
Timber
Creek,
down
Crandall
Creek
and
back
up
 the
Clark’s
Fork
toward
the
L—T,
he
encountered
a
moose
at
close
range.
Because
he
lacked
a
 


47



license
he
was
compelled
to
leave
it
alone.(18)

Eight
years
later
he
would
recall
this
episode
in
 For
 Whom
 the
 Bell
 Tolls.
When
he
reached
the
ranch
he
presented
Olive
Nordquist
with
a
few
 sage
 grouse,
 made
 himself
 a
 whiskey
 sour
 and
 sat
 down
 to
 read
 the
 reviews.
 While
 not
 overly
 negative,
 the
 reviews
 were
 not
 glowing
 either.
 Hemingway
 was
 irked
 enough
 to
 reply
 to
 Bob
 Coates
of
the
New
Yorker
immediately:
 
 But
 I’m
 damned
 if
 I
 wrote
 any
 petulant
 jabs
 about
 Faulkner
 and
 the
 hell
 with
 you
 for
 telling
citizens
that
I
did.
All
the
petulant
jabs
you
like
against
Waldo
Frank
(of
yourself
 even,
if
you’re
looking
for
them),
or
for
anyone
for
whom
I
have
no
particular
respect.
But
 I
 have
 plenty
 of
 respect
 for
 Faulkner
 and
 wish
 him
 all
 the
 luck.
 
 That
 does
 not
 mean
 I
 would
 not
 joke
 about
 him.
 There
 are
 no
 subjects
 that
 I
 would
 not
 jest
 about
 if
 the
 jest
 were
funny
enough.
(just
as,
liking
wing
shooting
,
I
would
shoot
my
own
mother
if
she
 went
 in
 coveys
 and
 had
 good
 strong
 flight.)
 If
 it
 was
 not
 funny
 to
 you
 that
 is
 my,
 or
 perhaps
your,
hard
luck.
 Always
 
 





Your
friend
EH
(19)









 









































































































































































 While
Hemingway
was
at
the
ranch
with
the
reviews,
Charles
Thompson
had
teamed
up
 with
John
Staebe
to
shoot
a
large
black
bear
up
Timber
Creek.
Hemingway
was
determined
to
 get
his
own.
On
Oct.
11
he
rode
with
Lawrence
Nordquist
up
Pilot
Creek
to
a
bear
bait.
At
dusk
a
 large
black
bear
arrived
and
began
tearing
at
the
rotting
horse.
Hemingway’s
first
shot
sent
the
 bear
 running
 into
 the
 woods.
 After
 following
 the
 blood
 trail
 through
 the
 snow,
 in
 the
 waning
 light,
his
second
shot
brought
the
500
lb.
bear
down
from
twenty
feet.
The
bear
was
a
good
deal
 larger
than
the
one
Charles
had
shot.(20)
When
they
returned
to
the
ranch
they
feasted
on
elk
 and
 venison
 while
 preparing
 to
 leave.
 On
 October
 14th
 Hemingway
 sat
 down
 and
 wrote
 three
 long
letters
to
some
of
his
closest
friends.

 To
 Henry
 Strater
 he
 explained
 the
 Africa
 postponement
 and
 summed
 up
 the
 months
 hunting
with
Thompson:
 

 
 









We
took
a
beating
on
sheep.
I
stalked
8
rams,
spooked
them
all.

Charles
stalked
11.
That

 










sheep
hunting
is
what
gave
Charles
hell.
Damndest
ledge
work
you
ever
saw.
I
had
to
take

 










my
shoes
off
on
one
mountain
for
about
two
miles
on
a
rock
slide.
Fell
9
times.
Never
got

 










a
shot
at
a
ram
‐
if
you’re
a
good
climber
you
could
have
got
a
ram.
I’m
not
a
good

 










climber.
Charles
shot
a
bull
elk,
we
shot
one
together
and
I
killed
one
alone.
He
killed
two

 










fine
bucks
and
a
bear
and
I
killed
an
eagle(flying),
trapped
a
coyote
and
killed
a
hell
of
a

 










big
bear.
 
 




Hope
you’re
having
good
pheasant
and
duck
shooting

 Best
always
Hem(21)


























































































 
 
























































































































































48
 



In
 his
 letter
 to
 Guy
 Hickock,
 his
 version
 of
 the
 birth
 of
 Gregory
 gives
 us
 a
 good
 look
 at
 how
 Hemingway
felt
about
his
family
at
this
time
in
his
life.

 
 
 Had
baby
‐
9
lbs
7
ounces
or
19
lbs
17
ounces
‐
Hell
of
a
big
baby
anyway
with
gigantic
 sexual
equipment
and
deep
base
voice…Well
Pauline
is
cockeyed
beautiful
‐
figure
lovely
 after
 Greg
 born
 ‐
 never
 looked
 nor
 felt
 better
 ‐
 Rode
 hard
 here
 all
 summer
 ‐shot
 and
 fished
‐She
hunted
here
for
the
first
5
days
of
the
season
then
went
down
to
Key
West
to
 work
on
house.(22)
 

























 Later
 in
 that
 same
 letter
 we
 see
 the
 effects
 of
 the
 depression
 creeping
 to
 the
 lives
 of
 the
 Hemingway’s
and
their
friends.
 
 
 Don’t
 ever
 come
 home
 thinking
 U.S.A.
 [is]
 interesting
 ‐
 It
 is
 just
 the
 same
 as
 ever
 only
 now
they
are
all
broke
where
before
they
were
lousy
with
cash.
The
scene
hasn’t
changed.
 Just
 the
 condition
 of
 the
 actors
 ‐
 I
 got
 1.00
 a
 word
 from
 Cosmopolitan
 for
 a
 story
 ‐
 last
 May
number
‐good
story
too
‐2693
words
‐
think
of
that
in
this
time
of
Depression.

In
a
 good
year
should
have
soaked
them
about
5
bucks
a
palabra
[word]
I
suppose‐
Well
well
 well
this
depression
is
hell
‐
On
the
other
hand
we
didn’t
participate
in
the
boom…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Ernest
 
 
 





























































































































 The
first
line
of
his
letter
to
Dos
Passos
continues
to
highlight
the
economic
situation:

 
 
 
 Dear
Dos,

 Won’t
 cash
 the
 100
 till
 you
 say
 you
 don’t
 need
 it
 right
 now.
 
 Thanks
 ever
 so
 much
for
sending
it.
This
book
looks
as
though
it
would
sell
maybe
a
grand
or
two
over
 the
advance.
Hope
the
hell
it
does.
I
have
a
story
out
I
will
get
money
on
too.
By
Christ
it
 made
 me
 feel
 good
 to
 get
 your
 letter.
 It
 certainly
 did…We’ve
 been
 killing
 meat
 for
 Ivan
 and
Chub
to
get
married
on.
Rode
all
the
way
to
Timber
Creek
cabin
in
a
blizzard—read
 your
damned
letter
over
and
take
a
shot
of
Red
Lodge
moon
to
keep
warm.(23)
 
 Towards
the
end
of
the
letter
we
get
a
rare
glimpse
into
his
politics.
 
 
 I
suppose
I
am
an
anarchist
‐
but
it
takes
a
while
to
figure
out.
They
poop
on
old
Ferrer
 and
Malatesta
now
but
their
names
will
sound
honester
in
20
years
than
Stalin
will.
Italia
 is
 running
 the
 U.S.
 Grant
 administration.
 I
 don’t
 believe
 and
 can’t
 believe
 in
 too
 much
 government
‐
no
matter
what
good
is
the
end.
To
hell
with
the
Church
when
it
becomes
a
 state
and
the
hell
with
the
state
when
it
becomes
a
church.

Also
it
is
very
possible
that
 tearing
down
is
more
important
than
building
up.
 Well
the
hell
with
all
this
whisker
pulling.
Chub,
Ivan
and
the
Nordquists
send
you
 their
best
as
does
old
Charles.
 


49



My
Love
to
Kate
…

 
 
 
 
 So
long
Dos.
.
.
.
 
 
 
 
 
 Hem.(24)


Hemingway’s
 disdain
 for
 politics
 extended
 to
 the
 upcoming
 election
 between
 Roosevelt
 and
 Hoover
 which
 he
 considered
 a
 contest
 between
 ‘the
 paralytic
 demagogue’
 (Roosevelt)
 and
 the
 ‘syphilitic
 baby’
 (Hoover).
 While
 he
 could
 catch
 the
 occasional
 campaign
 speech
 on
 his
 portable
radio
he
said
he
“liked
the
yowling
of
the
coyotes
in
the
hills
far
better.”(25)


 




On
 October
 16th
 he
 paid
 his
 bill
 for
 $1,620(27)
 before
 he
 and
 Charles
 headed
 out
 into
 a
 blizzard
with
a
candle
in
a
tin
can
on
the
dashboard
to
help
defrost
the
windows.
They
stopped
 off
 in
 Cody
 and
 mailed
 off
 fourteen
 letters
 and
 some
 final
 signed
 page
 proofs
 of
 Death
 in
 the
 Afternoon
from
a
Studebaker
garage.
He
left
the
ranch
that
fall
not
sure
when
he
would
be
able
 to
return.
In
his
future
lay
the
uncertainty
of
the
upcoming
Africa
trip
and
in
the
future
of
the
 mountains
 he
 had
 grown
 to
 love
 lay
 the
 Beartooth
 Highway.
 Plans
 had
 already
 been
 made
 to
 pave
a
road
between
Red
Lodge
and
Cooke
City
and
Hemingway
was
convinced
this
would
drive
 all
the
game
into
the
refuge
of
Yellowstone
National
Park.
One
of
his
favorite
stretches
of
river,
 lower
 Pilot
 Creek,
 just
 above
 its
 confluence
 with
 the
 Clark’s
 Fork,
 had
 been
 destroyed
 by
 road
 builders
 searching
 for
 gravel.
 (This
 stretch
 is
 still
 home
 to
 a
 gravel
 pit
 used
 for
 road
 construction).
 Because
 of
 these
 uncertainties
 Hemingway
 had
 hunted,
 fished
 and
 lived
 with
 extra
vigor
that
summer,
and
for
good
reason
considering
it
would
be
almost
four
years
before
 he
would
return
to
the
Yellowstone
High
Country.


 
 
 
 
 



































































End
Notes
 





































































 


































































Introduction
 1. Conversation
with
Ralph
Glidden.
 2. Conversations
with
Tom
Weaver.
 3. Hart,
 Sue.
 “Writing
 the
 West:
 Hemingway,
 Fishing,
 and
 Friends
 at
 the
 L—T.
 Big
 Sky
 Journal,
2006.
 4. Atlantic
Monthly,
100th
Anniversary
Editions,
1957.
 5. Hannum,
Howard.
“Hemingway’s
Tales
of
the
‘Real
Dark.’”
Hemingway’s
Neglected
Short
 Fiction.
Ed.
Susan
F.
Beegal.
Ann
Arbor:
UMI
Research
Press,
1989.
339‐50.
 6. Olivers,
Charles.
Ernest
Hemingway
A‐Z.
New
York:
Checkmark
Books,
1999.
 7. The
Complete
Short
Stories
of
Ernest
Hemingway
(Finca
Vigia
Edition).
Scribner.
1987.
 8. Meyers,
Jeffrey.
Hemingway:
A
Biography.
New
York:
Harper
&
Row,
1985.
223.
 9. For
Whom
the
Bell
Tolls,
Chapter
30.
 10. Ernest
 Hemingway:
 Selected
 Letters
 1917‐1961.
 Ed.
 Carlos
 Baker.
 Letter
 to
 Perkins,
 7‐27‐ 50
 



11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

1932.
Cambridge,
1982.
 Glidden,
Ralph.
Exploring
the
Yellowstone
High
Country:
A
History
of
the
Cooke
City
Area.
 Cooke
City
Store,
1982.
 Articles
by
Lee
Alan
Gutkind,
The
Des
Moines
Register,
1970.
 Gutkind.
 Spencer,
 Ed.
 A
 History
 (more
 or
 less)
 of
 the
 RDS,
 B—4,
 L—T,
 and
 Hancock
 Ranches.
 Wordsworth
Publishing,
2004.
13‐14.
 Baker,
Carlos.
Ernest
Hemingway:
A
Life
Story.
New
York:
Avon
Books,
1968.
271‐72.
 Reynolds,
Michael.
Hemingway:
The
1930s.
New
York:
Norton,
1998.
44.
 Spencer,
12.
 Baker
Bio,
272.
 Conversations
with
Dink
Bruce.



 






























































Chapter
1:
1928
 
 1. Baker
Bio,
250.
 2. Baker
Bio,
251.
 3. Letters,
Baker.
Letter
to
Guy
Hickock,
7‐27‐28.
 4. Letters,
Baker.
Letter
to
Waldo
Pierce,
8‐9‐28.
 5. Letters,
Baker.
 6. Gutkind,
 Alan.
 “Hemingway
 in
 Wyoming.”
 The
 Des
 Moines
 Register.
 Series
 of
 articles
 running
in
editions
from
September/October,
1970.
 7. Baker
Bio,
257.
 
 





























































Chapter
2:
1930
 
 1. Baker
Bio,
271.
 2. Myers,
223.
 3. Spencer,
12.
 4. Bruccoli,
Matthew.
The
Only
Thing
That
Counts:
The
Ernest
Hemingway‐Maswell
Perkins
 Correspondence.
Columbia,
Univ.
of
South
Carolina
Press,
1996.
12‐13.
 5. Lawrence,
 H.
 Lea.
 Prowling
 Papa’s
 Waters:
 A
 Hemingway
 Odyssey.
 Marietta:
 Longstreet
 Pess,
1992.
176.
 6. Baker
Bio,
272.
 7. Baker
Bio,
272.
 8. Hart,
65.
 9. Hemingway,
 Jack.
 “Forward.”
 Hemingway
 on
 Fishing.
 Ed.
 Nick
 Lyons.
 New
 York:
 Scribner’s,
2000.
Xi.
 10. Hemingway,
Jack.
The
Misadventures
of
a
Fly
Fisherman:
My
Life
With
and
Without
Papa.
 New
York:
McGraw‐Hill,
1987.
109.
 


51



11. Glidden,
109.
 12. Baker
Bio,
274.
 13. Gutkind.
 14. Letters,
Baker,
328.
 15. “Clark’s
Fork
Valley,
Wyoming.”
Vogue.
February,
1939.
 16. Letters,
Baker,
371.
 17. Baker
Bio,
276.
 18. Green
Hills
of
Africa.
 19. “Clark’s
Fork
Valley,
Wyoming.”
 20. Baker
Bio,
277.
 21. Baker
Bio,
277.
 22. Hart,
68.
 23. Green
Hills
of
Africa,
147‐148.
 24. Meyers,
228.
 25. Hart,
70.
 26. Baker
Bio,
223.
 
 
























































Chapter
3:
1932
 
 1. Reynolds,
64.
 2. Brian,
 Denis.
 The
 True
 Gen:
 An
 Intimate
 Portrait
 of
 Ernest
 Hemingway
 by
 Those
 Who
 Knew
Him.
New
York:
Grove
Press,
1987.
 3. Reynolds,
97.
 4. Hart,
67.
 5. Brian,
82.
 6. Brian,
82.
 7. Hart,
65.
 8. Paradise
and
Purgatory:
Hemingway
at
the
L—T
and
Saint
Vincent’s.
Montana
PBS.
1999.
 Documentary.
 9. Hendrickson,
Paul.
Hemingway’s
Boat.
New
York:
Vintage,
2012.
241‐242.
 10. Baker
Bio,
298.
 11. Letters,
Baker,
364.
 12. Letters,
Baker,
365.
 13. Bruccoli,
176.
 14. Letters,
Baker,
367.
 15. “Homage
to
Switzerland.”
 16. Letters,
Baker,
365.
 17. Letters,
Baker,
368.
 18. Baker
Bio,
298.
 19. Letters,
Baker,
369.
 52
 



20. Baker
Bio,
299.
 21. Letters,
Baker,
371.
 22. Letters,
Baker,
372.
 23. Letters,
Baker,
373.
 24. Letters,
Baker,
374.
 25. Baker
Bio,
296.
 26. Reynolds,
102.
 
 
 


53



Jason
 Christian



 54
 



“American
 Waste”



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 


55



56
 



1.
Featherweight
 The
first
day
I
showed
up
to
the
jobsite
in
my
friend
Ernie’s
puke‐brown
car.
The
place
was
way
 in
the
outskirts
down
west
I‐40,
where
some
rich
man
was
building
a
house
in
the
middle
of
a
 fresh
clearing
 surrounded
 by
 scrubby
 woods
and
 flanked
by
 two
large
piles
of
bulldozed
trees,
 just
asking
to
become
bonfires.
Stacks
of
lumber
pushed
into
sand
damp
from
a
rare
July
rain.
 Tire
ruts
crisscrossed
the
inevitable
red
clay.
Trash
lay
everywhere
in
sight.
 The
 other
 guys’
 trucks—all
 of
 them
 had
 trucks—were
 parked
 in
 a
 crooked
 line
 off
 the
 main
 driveway,
wedged
haphazardly
between
pathetic
stunted
trees
that
constituted
our
woods.
The
 clearing
 was
 large
 enough
 for
 the
 mansion
 we
 were
 building
 and
 a
 yard
 that
 somebody
 would
 roll
out
after
we
were
gone.

 As
 I
 parked
 I
 killed
 the
 radio
 and
 saw
 through
 the
 cracked
 glass
 a
 short
 stocky
 man
 walking
straight
at
me
as
though
ready
for
a
fistfight.
He
began
speaking
even
before
I
left
the
 car.
 
 “You
the
new
guy?”
he
said.

 “Yeah,”
I
said.
“My
name’s
Rice.”

 
 “What
 kinda
 fucking
 name
 is
 that?
I
 won’t
 remember
 that.”
 
 This
 must
 be
 the
 boss.
He
 turned
 toward
 the
 others
 who
 were
 moving
 quickly,
 carrying
 tools,
 unrolling
 cords
 and
 hoses,
 setting
up
for
the
day.
I
looked
at
my
watch:

five
minutes
early.
The
boss
looked
back
at
me
and
 spat
tobacco
on
the
ground
beside
my
boots.

 
 “Got
any
tools?”
he
said.
 “I
brought
a
hammer,
a
tool
bag,
a
tape
measure,
and
a
square.
That’s
what
Hippie
told
 me
to
bring.”
I
was
hoping
Hippie
used
that
name
around
the
boss.
I
was
also
thinking
that
I
was
 lucky
that
I
had
a
friend
to
borrow
tools
from.
Of
course
I
didn’t
know
how
to
use
them,
but
that
 I
wouldn’t
admit.
I
was
used
to
being
judged
by
my
exterior:
black
clothes,
tattoos,
and
bright‐ colored
hair
invited
stares.
Anyway,
I
figured
he’d
act
somewhat
friendly
since
he’d
gone
to
the
 trouble
of
recruiting
a
new
worker.
Besides,
I’d
cleaned
up
my
appearance
for
his
sake,
for
the
 job’s
 sake.
 But
 I
 kept
 quiet
 and
 played
 it
 cool.
 I
 had
 no
 doubt
 construction
 sites
 were
 unforgiving.
 “Pick
up
all
the
trash,”
the
boss
said.
“Anybody
yells,
do
what
he
asks.”
He
turned
around
 and
 walked
 toward
 his
 dented
 gray
 Dodge
 dually
 with
 red
 mud
 smeared
 all
 the
 way
 to
 the
 windows.
I
began
picking
up
trash.
The
rest
of
the
crew
finished
unloading
tools,
setting
up
saws
 and
compressors
and
other
contraptions
I
had
no
idea
of
their
use.
 It
 was
 eight
 A.M.
 and
 the
 other
 guys
 were
 already
 laughing
 and
 chitchatting
 about
 women.
Despite
my
best
intensions
I
was
anxious,
and
someone
noticed.
He
said
his
name
was
 Kurt,
and
he
wore
nothing
but
frayed
cut‐off
jean
shorts
that
barely
reached
mid‐thigh,
and
tool
 


57



belt
that
seemed
to
enhance
his
round
over‐sunned
belly.
His
skin
was
dark
brown
and
leathery
 like
an
old
catcher’s
mitt,
his
feet
shod
with
formerly
white
Wal‐Mart‐looking
shoes.
Somehow,
 despite
the
belly,
he
ran
across
the
top
of
the
two‐by‐four
walls
as
graceful
as
a
ballerina.
Real
 precision.
 Kurt
 said
 I
 looked
 as
 nervous
 as
 a
 whore
 in
 church.
 I
 asked
 him
 what
 I
 should
 be
 doing.


 “Boss
already
said
pick
up
all
the
cut
ends
and
make
a
pile.
There’s
the
dumpster
for
the
 shorties.”
 He
 pointed
 to
 the
 green
 roll‐off
 dumpster
 across
 the
 yard.
 The
 side
 of
 the
 dumpster
 had
the
words
“American
Waste”
stamped
on
it.
I
thought
of
that
Black
Flag
song
I
used
to
like
 in
my
younger,
idealistic
days.

 
 “Yeah,
but
after
that,”
I
said.

 
 “You
know
how
to
cut
straight?”
Kurt
said.
“Lost
our
cut‐man.
Quit
last
week.”
He
turned
 away
from
me
and
flipped
off
the
sky
as
if
everything
was
God’s
fault.
I
noticed
he
had
a
blurred
 tattoo
of
Wile
E.
Coyote
on
his
right
shoulder.
 
 
“I
learn
fast
if
somebody
wants
to
show
me,”
I
said
to
Kurt.

 
 “New
guy!”
the
boss
roared
from
behind
me.
I
spun
around.

 
 “What
 the
 fuck
 are
 you
 talking
 for,”
 he
 said.
 “I
 thought
 you
 were
 working.
 You’re
 just
 standing
there
with
your
goddamn
teeth
in
your
mouth.”

 
 I
said
nothing.
 
 “Cut
that
stack
down
to
ninety‐two
and
five
eighths.
We
got
the
wrong
order.”
 
 I
had
worked
jobs
where
men
barked
orders
but
this
was
“slaves
building
pyramids”
work.
 It
was
one
thing
to
be
told
to
wash
a
pile
of
dishes
or
pick
up
trash
or
shovel
dirt
all
day,
but
 another
to
quickly
do
skilled
labor
under
a
tyrant’s
watch.
It’s
hard
to
explain
why,
but
I
needed
 the
job
to
last,
it
was
important
for
me
to
finish
something
that
I
had
started
for
once,
so
I
tried.

 
 I
wrote
the
dimensions
the
boss
gave
me
down
on
a
scrap
of
wood,
while
hestood
beside
 me
 staring,
 his
 nostrils
 flaring
 as
 he
 breathed.
 I
 couldn’t
 tell
 if
 he
 was
 older
 or
 younger
 than
 Hippie,
who
I
had
guessed
to
be
about
forty‐five.

 
 “I
think
I
can
do
it,”
I
said.

 
 “Goddammit
new
guy,
you
better
fucking
know.”

 
 “Okay,”
I
said.
“No
problem.”
I
skittered
over
to
the
stack
of
lumber
and
noticed
Hippie
 gazing
at
me
from
the
second
story
floor
where
he
was
building
walls.
He
had
a
guilty
look
on
 his
face,
probably
realizing
I
was
scared
and
trying
to
hide
it.

 
 “Hippie,
come
down
here
and
show
this
new
guy
how
to
do
it,”
the
boss
said,
still
planted
 in
the
same
place.
“Tell
by
looking
at
him
he
don’t
know
shit.”
He
was
pointing
at
me
with
the
 wooden
handle
of
a
framing
hammer,
nearly
as
big
as
an
ax
handle.
 
 “All
right,
Junior,”
Hippie
said.
Now
I
knew
the
boss’s
name.
 
 I
let
him
help
me,
did
the
job,
and
then
they
left
me
alone.
Every
instinct
in
me
told
me
to
 flee.
I
struggled
against
the
urge
to
drive
away
until
lunchtime
came.

All
six
guys,
besides
the
 boss,
smoked
weed,
ate
gas
station
food
and
joked
around.
Lunch
break
was
more
than
a
break,
 it
was
a
relief.
At
some
point
in
the
afternoon,
boss
left
for
some
errands
and
never
returned.
I
 finished
out
the
day
with
less
worries,
even
allowing
myself
to
stop
to
pet
Hippie’s
young
brindle
 58
 



pit
bull
that
lay
all
day
in
the
shade
of
Hippie’s
beat
up
Toyota.
Hippie
said
he
always
brought
 the
dog
to
work.
He
called
him
Brutus.

 
 *
 Day
two
was
easier.
By
easier
I
mean
the
boss
wasn’t
there
most
of
the
day.
The
work
itself
was
 backbreaking.
They
made
me
carry
about
a
hundred
four‐by‐eight‐foot
pieces
of
plywood
up
a
 rickety
 wooden
 chickenwalk
 to
 the
 second
 floor.
 One
 after
 another,
 all
 day
 long,
 each
 feeling
 heavier
than
the
last.

 At
 lunch,
 like
 the
 day
 before,
 we
 all
 piled
 into
 somebody’s
 truck
 and
 drove
 to
 the
 gas
 station
 at
 the
 interchange
 down
 the
 road.
 They
 had
 a
 hot
 box
 full
 of
 chicken
 strips,
 potato
 wedges,
fried
chicken,
onion
rings
and
other
fried
foods,
the
kind
of
food
that
won’t
kill
you
but
 you
 don’t
 want
 to
 live
 on.
 I
 didn’t
 complain
 and,
 of
 course,
 no
 one
 else
 did
 either.
 We
 each
 bought
 our
 lunch
 and
 a
 32
 oz.
 soda
 pop.
 Then
 we
 went
 back
 for
 what
 they
 called
 “lunchtime
 entertainment.”

 
 “What’s
 that?”
 I
 asked
 Hippie
 in
 the
 truck
 on
 the
 way
 back,
 thinking
 that
 he
 was
 somehow
closer
to
me
than
them.
He
said
nothing.
I
didn’t
want
to
repeat
myself
so
I
let
it
go.

 
 When
 we
 got
 back
 to
 the
 jobsite,
 everyone
 exited
 the
 truck
 and
 began
 setting
 his
 own
 personal
 lawn
 chairs
 into
 a
 straight
 line
 facing
 away
 from
 the
 house.
 I
 didn’t
 have
 a
 chair.
 I
 thought
 I’d
 just
 stand
 to
 eat
 or
 stack
 boards
 to
 make
 a
 seat.
 The
 heat
 was
 sweltering
 and
 the
 humidity
 was
 high.
 There
 was
 a
 dead
 quality
 to
 the
 air,
 that
 deadness
 you
 find
 in
 Oklahoma
 summers.
 
 “Got
a
coon
for
Brutus
today,”
Hippie
said
to
no
one
in
particular.
“Missed
one
yesterday,
 but
caught
one
last
night.”

 
 Everyone
 laughed
 or
 began
 chattering
 in
 a
 knowing
 way.
 I
 still
 didn’t
 understand
 what
 was
happening
until
he
picked
up
a
steel
box
from
the
back
of
his
truck.
It
had
been
there
all
 along.
Inside
the
box
an
animal
frantically
clawed
and
shuffled
from
side
to
side.
Brutus
stood
on
 two
legs,
whining,
licking
at
the
box.
 
 Hippie
 set
 the
 box
 on
 the
 dirt.
 Brutus
 began
 clawing
 at
 it
 and
 barking.
 The
 barks
 were
 shrill.
He
was
still
young.
 
 “What
is
this?”
I
said.
 
 “This
fucking
dog
will
learn
to
run
off
varmints,
yet,”
Hippie
said.
“I
live
fifty
mile
south
of
 here
 in
 the
 country.
 I
 need
 a
 good
 coon
 killer.
 Those
 sonsabitches
 get
 into
 my
 food
 all
 the
 goddamn
time.”


 
 “Let
that
sumbitch
go,
Hippie,”
one
of
them
said.
 “Tear
up
the
walls
of
my
trailer,”
Hippie
continued.
“Last
week
they
ripped
out
all
the
insulation.

 Decorated
my
house
like
a
goddamn
Christmas
tree.”

 
 He
released
a
little
metal
door,
a
full‐sized
raccoon
burst
from
the
cage
like
a
bull
from
a
 rodeo
 chute.
 The
 dog
 and
 raccoon
 instantly
 began
 fighting
 in
 a
 death‐like
 dance,
 rolled,
 scratched,
bit.
The
growl
of
the
dog
was
familiar,
but
the
raccoon
sounded
like
an
angry
tomcat


59



slowed
down
and
deepened
in
pitch,
something
like
an
otherworldly
lion’s
roar,
or
maybe
a
lion
 in
heat,
sounds
of
rage,
rabid
sounds.

 
 The
raccoon
was
vicious,
ruthless.
After
a
minute
it
managed
to
break
away
from
the
dog
 and
run
toward
the
trees,
but
the
dog
caught
up
quick
and
the
dance
began
anew.
Behind
me
 the
 crew
 cheered,
 made
 a
 commotion.
 It
 felt
 like
 being
 at
 a
 bar,
 watching
 a
 featherweight
 championship
on
HBO.

 The
dirt
was
torn
up
where
the
animals
had
been.
Spots
of
blood
here
and
there
marked
 the
animals’
paths.
Eventually
the
raccoon
broke
away
yet
again
and
ran
fast
enough
to
lunge
up
 a
tree.
Brutus
went
hysterical,
barking
and
yipping
and
whining
at
the
base
of
the
tree,
trying
to
 jump
into
it
and
climb
it,
circling
like
a
shark.
Hippie
skipped
over
to
him,
grabbed
him
by
the
 collar
and
lifted
him
in
the
air,
then
walked
back
to
the
jobsite
while
Brutus
looked
back
hard
 over
Hippie’s
shoulder
toward
the
raccoon
in
the
tree.
 
 “That’s
a
good
boy,
Brutus,”
Hippie
said.
“Kill
that
fucking
beast.”
 
 “Man,
that
bastard
was
tearing
him
up
good,”
someone
yelled.
I
didn’t
look
to
see
who
it
 was.
So
far,
only
one
or
two
of
them
were
separate
people.

 
 “Varmint’s
 tougher
 than
 the
 damn
 dog,”
 another
 said.
 I
 didn’t
 look
 up
 that
 time
 either.
 Like
Brutus,
I
stared
at
the
raccoon
in
the
tree.
 
 “Bullshit,”
Hippie
said.
“Coon
just
got
lucky.
Dog’s
still
a
pup,
you
know.”
 
 We
went
back
to
work.
I
finished
lugging
the
stack
of
plywood,
one
board
at
a
time,
fifty
 pounds
 each,
 fifty‐seven
 more
 trips
 up
 the
 chickenwalk—I
 counted.
 I
 almost
 fell
 a
 couple
 of
 times.
 I
 tried
 not
 to
 think
 of
 anything
 but
 holding
 on
 to
 the
 board
 stretched
 across
 my
 shoulders.
I
was
drenched
in
sweat
and
muttered
under
my
breath
like
a
mad
man
as
I
hunched
 up
the
chickenwalk
over
and
over
until
five
o’clock
finally
came.
 
 *
 That
night
at
the
house
my
friends
were
indignant.

 “You
gotta
quit
that
job,”
Ernie
said.
“Fuck
those
rednecks!”
He
was
vegan
then,
and
had
a
 dog
 of
 his
 own
 that
 he
 found
 in
 a
 dumpster
 one
 night
 while
 out
 looking
 for
 food
 behind
 the
 Homeland
grocery
store.
It
was
a
tiny
puppy
someone
had
wrapped
up
in
a
black
trash
bag
and
 thrown
away.
He
called
it
Yelp
because
it
was
yelping
through
the
plastic
when
he
found
it.

 Then
Dee
chimed
in:
“You
should
sabotage
their
shit
first.
Slash
their
tires,
or
something.
 Or
steal
their
tools
and
pawn
them.”

 “Man,
they
know
my
name,”
I
said.
“That
would
be
really
stupid.”

 We
 were
 drinking
 Side
 Pocket
 forties.
 Drunk
 for
 a
 buck,
 we
 used
 to
 say.
 Except
 I
 was
 trying
to
pull
my
life
together,
so
I
just
poured
myself
a
cup.
 “You
want
a
bump?”
Ernie
said.
His
hair
was
spiky
on
top
and
dyed
black.
The
sides
were
 shaved
revealing
a
tattoo
of
a
screaming
skull.
 “Man,
I’ve
gotta
work
in
the
morning.”
 “All
 right.
 Be
 boring,”
 Ernie
 said.
 “Just
 don’t
 forget
 whose
 car
 you’re
 using.”
 His
 eyes
 darted
everywhere
as
though
following
a
fly
around
the
room.

 60
 



“Turn
up
the
music,”
Dee
said.
 All
conversation
was
shut
down
by
Napalm
Death
or
something
in
that
vein.
Heavy,
dark,
 violent
music,
an
assault
on
our
ears.
Not
the
political
punk
that
got
us
into
this
lifestyle
in
the
 first
place.
 This
 was
 normal.
 We
 talked
 sometimes,
 but
 music
 and
 drinking
 was
 usually
 better.
 If
 I
 wanted
intellectual
stimulation
I
could
go
to
my
room
and
read.


 I
 had
 lived
 in
 that
 house
 off
 and
 on
 for
 three
 years.
 The
 house
 was
 Ernie’s,
 technically,
 though
everyone
thought
of
it
as
our
own.
Ernie
inherited
the
house
from
his
dad,
who
passed
 out
one
night
drunk
and
fell
into
the
swimming
pool
of
some
lady
he
was
fucking,
and
drowned.
 He
 was
 the
 lady’s
 lawn
 man
 and
 somehow
 had
 breached
 her
 glittery
 world.
 Her
 rich
 husband
 was
out
of
town
when
the
accident
happened.
It
was
some
kind
of
scandal
on
the
news.
Anyway,
 that’s
neither
here
nor
there.
We
called
the
house
“The
Crack
House,”
which
was
supposed
to
be
 ironic
but
the
front
windows
were
boarded
up
from
a
party
that
had
gotten
out
of
hand,
and
we
 had
definitely
smoked
crack
there
more
than
a
couple
of
times.
I
had
moved
back
in
when
my
 girlfriend
Abby
kicked
me
out.
Ernie
was
happy
to
have
me
there,
liked
to
tell
me
about
every
 five
 minutes
 Abby
 was
 a
 stupid
 stuck‐up
 college
 girl.
 “Out
 of
 your
 league,
 man,”
 he’d
 say.
 “Probably
be
a
lawyer
or
something,
someday.”
I
deflected
this
talk
or
sometimes
turned
it
back
 at
him.
 “Maybe,
if
you’re
lucky,
she’ll
save
your
ass
from
prison.”
 
 *
 The
next
morning
was
hell.
I
was
so
sore
I
could
barely
move.
Somehow
I
had
ended
up
drinking
 a
 Side
 Pocket
 after
 all,
 and
 then
 some
 whiskey,
 staying
 up
 half
 the
 night.
 By
 some
 miracle
 I
 managed
to
roll
out
of
bed
and
make
it
out
the
door
on
time,
and
bought
a
barrel
full
of
coffee
 on
the
way
to
our
half‐built
mansion.

 That
 day
 was
 like
 the
 one
 before:
 same
 rednecks,
 same
 yelling
 boss,
 same
 dog‐raccoon
 fight
 at
 lunch.
 We
 worked
 fast,
 the
 hot
 summer
 air
 echoed
 with
 rapid‐fire
 nail
 gun
 sounds,
 hammering,
men’s
murmuring
and
swearing
voices.
It
sounded
like
war.
Everyone
was
in
a
hurry
 and
the
boss
yelled
“hurry
up,
ladies”
about
once
an
hour.

 I
 was
 told
 to
 cut
 some
 boards
 and
 given
 a
 list
 of
 dimensions
 so
 somebody
 could
 make
 some
headers.
As
I
cut
the
boards
my
mind
was
somewhere
else,
thinking
about
how
I
shouldn’t
 have
drunk
so
much
last
night,
wondering
why
I
was
working
at
a
place
where
I
belonged
even
 less
than
my
normal
jobs,
when
I
cut
right
through
the
air‐hose.
The
hose
wiggled
and
flopped
 in
 the
 air
 and
 I
 couldn’t
 catch
 it.
 The
 boss
 screamed
 at
 me,
 but
 somebody
 quickly
 fixed
 the
 problem
and
put
me
back
on
cleaning
up
and
running
boards
to
whoever
yelled
“new
guy.”
 
 The
week
passed
and
the
dog
and
raccoon
scrapped
every
day.
On
Friday
two
raccoons
 were
caught
and,
though
they
were
on
the
small
side,
I
thought
they
might
get
the
upper
hand
 on
Hippie’s
pit
bull.
On
that
day
more
blood
splashed
than
usual.
I
wondered
how
much
longer
 the
carnage
would
last.



61



On
my
second
week
of
work,
on
Monday,
Brutus
finally
triumphed.
Hippie
had
trapped
a
 young
raccoon
the
night
before,
and
that
day
at
lunch
it
fought
just
as
hard
for
its
life
as
the
rest
 of
them,
but
it
wasn’t
quite
tough
enough
to
hold
its
own.
The
raccoon
nearly
reached
the
trees,
 and
I
was
secretly
rooting
for
it
even
when
Brutus
clamped
down
on
its
neck
and
wouldn’t
let
go.
 He
thrashed
it
in
every
direction,
in
spasms,
whipping
it
like
a
Teddy
bear
around
and
around.
 Then
he
carried
it
to
his
master
and
dropped
it
at
his
feet.
It
lay
there
soaked
in
dirty
saliva
and
 blood,
a
ruddy
ring
around
its
neck,
its
fur
spiked
out
with
moisture.
Its
coat
had
a
sheen
to
it,
 kind
 of
 like
 punk
 hair.
 The
 men
 slapped
 Hippie’s
 back
 and
 pet
 Brutus,
 who
 was
 prancing
 and
 wiggling
his
butt
as
though
he’d
won
a
prize.

 “All
right,
ladies,
you’ve
had
your
fun,”
the
boss
yelled,
as
he
came
out
of
the
port‐a‐john.
 I
hadn’t
known
he
was
there.
“Let’s
get
back
to
it.
Throw
that
motherfucker
in
the
woods
before
 the
customer
shows
up.”
 
 Hippie
picked
up
the
raccoon
by
the
tail
and
walked
to
the
edge
of
the
woods
and
tossed
 it
 onto
 the
 tangled
 underbrush
 of
 briars.
 It
 lay
 there
 atop
 springy
 vines,
 several
 feet
 from
 the
 ground,
 swaying
 in
 the
 wind.
 I
 watched
 Hippie
 as
 he
 strolled
 back
 toward
 us,
 seemingly
 following
the
thread‐like
trail
of
blood.
It
was
all
I
could
do
to
keep
quiet.
 
 “What
the
fuck
are
you
staring
at,
new
guy?”
the
boss
screamed
from
behind
my
ear.

 
 
 “Huh?”
I
said,
without
thinking.

 
 “Goddammit!
Only
faggots
say
huh.
Are
you
a
faggot,
new
guy?”

 
 The
day
was
warm,
but
my
neck
was
a
volcano.
I
was
powerless.
I
was
enraged.
I
wanted
 to
 take
 a
 hammer
 and
 bury
 the
 claw
 in
 his
 forehead.
 But
 of
 course
 I
 did
 nothing.
 There
 was
 nothing
to
do.

 
 “No.”
I
said.

 
 “Good,
 cause
 I
 wouldn’t
 have
 one
 on
 my
 crew.
 Bring
 those
 studs
 upstairs,
 stud.”
 He
 pointed
 with
 a
 nod
 of
 his
 square
 sunbaked
 head.
 I
 hated
 him,
 hated
 his
 kind.
 I
 pictured
 his
 thrashed
 bloody
 body
 lying
 next
 to
 the
 raccoon’s
 on
 the
 briars,
 his
 tongue
 hanging
 out,
 his
 clothes
 in
 tatters.
 I
 wouldn’t
 do
 me
 any
 good
 to
 dwell
 though,
 so
 I
 put
 everything
 out
 of
 my
 mind
and
did
what
the
boss
wanted.
 
 For
 hours
 I
 hauled
 a
 pile
 of
 boards
 upstairs
 and
 stacked
 them
 for
 the
 walls
 the
 others
 would
make.
The
whole
place
looked
like
a
multi‐tiered
jungle
gym
with
diagonal
braces
going
 every
 which
 way,
 holding
 the
 walls
 in
 place
 until
 we
 could
 put
 a
 roof
 over
 all
 of
 it.
 It
 looked
 strong,
 but
 I
 knew
 it
 was
 still
 vulnerable
 without
 the
 braces.
 A
 good
 wind
 might
 topple
 the
 whole
thing
over.
 
 *
 “Oh
 my
 god.
 Somebody
 should
 call
 animal
 welfare
 on
 those
 fuckers,”
 Ernie
 said
 that
 night
 at
 home.

 
 “I
don’t
think
they
give
a
shit
about
raccoons,”
Dee
said.

 
 “I
was
talking
about
the
dog,”
Ernie
said.
“That’s
animal
abuse.”



62
 



“Yeah,
but
we
don’t
call
the
cops,
remember?”
I
said.
It
was
true.
We
always
said
calling
 the
 cops
 was
 cooperating
 with
 the
 state,
 and
 the
 state
 was
 a
 bunch
 of
 murderers.
 I
 remember
 being
shit‐faced
one
time
and
arguing
about
it
with
some
liberal
college
girl
who
was
dating
a
 friend
of
mine.
I
was
out
of
my
mind
on
speed,
chewing
my
face
off,
not
backing
down
in
the
 argument.


 “What
if
there
was
a
dead
body
in
your
house,”
she
had
said
at
the
end
of
our
drawn
out
debate,
 as
though
saving
it
as
her
final
trump
card.

 “We’d
compost
the
bastard,”
I
said.
I
knew
that
was
a
lie,
but
I
said
it
anyway.
The
girl
wouldn’t
 let
 my
 answer
 suffice,
 so
 I
 finally
 admitted
 we’d
 probably
 take
 the
 body
 and
 drop
 it
 off
 at
 the
 morgue
or
something.
All
of
it
was
a
moot
point
anyway
because
there
wasn’t
going
to
be
a
dead
 body.
 
 “Animal
 welfare
 isn’t
 the
 cops,
 dumbass,”
 Ernie
 said.
 “I
 think
 we
 should
 ambush
 that
 fucker
and
kick
his
teeth
in
and
steal
his
dog.
I’ll
volunteer
to
take
care
of
him,”
he
said.
“The
 dog,
I
mean.”
 
 “I
can’t
do
that,
besides
the
boss
is
a
bigger
problem.
I
haven’t
told
you
what
he
said
to
 me.”
 
 “Why
are
you
working
there,
man?”
Ernie
said.
“Are
you
that
desperate?”
 
 “Dude,
get
a
job
at
a
coffee
shop
or
something,”
said
Dee.
“Or
sell
weed
again.
It’s
not
like
 it’s
speed.”
 
 “Sell
your
plasma
till
something
better
comes
along,”
Ernie
said.
I
knew
he
was
just
trying
 to
help.
What
they
didn’t
understand
is
that
I
was
growing
weary
with
all
of
this,
the
all‐night
 drinking,
the
filthy,
squalid
living,
the
gratuitous
bumps
of
speed,
not
knowing
where
my
next
 dollar
would
come
from.

 
 “I
feel
like
I
need
to
learn
a
skill,”
I
said.
“I’m
twenty‐five‐years‐old.
I
should
be
trying
to
 figure
shit
out,
right?”
 
 *
 The
 next
 day
 I
 came
 to
 work
 prepared.
 I
 had
 plotted
 during
 the
 night.
 I
 bought
 a
 summer
 sausage
and
stabbed
holes
all
over
its
surface
and
pushed
rat
poison
into
each
hole.

It
would
be
 a
toxic
weapon.

 At
lunch
Brutus
had
his
daily
fight
for
Hippie’s
pride
and
honor.
The
raccoon
was
normal
 sized
and
fought
like
the
rest
of
them,
and
survived,
which
was
a
comfort.
I
didn’t
want
to
kill
 the
 dog
 but
 I
 didn’t
 see
 any
 other
 way.
 Wasn’t
 it
 okay
 to
 kill
 something
 to
 stop
 further
 bloodshed?

 When
the
fight
was
over
the
guys
went
back
to
wall
building
and
I
cleaned
up
the
yard
 until
I
had
a
load
to
throw
in
the
dumpster.
I
had
cut
up
the
summer
sausage
into
four
pieces,
 each
exposing
green
pellets
that
resembled
broken
jagged
Pez
candy,
the
color
of
chalkboard.
I
 squatted
on
the
other
side
of
the
dumpster,
the
sausage
stuffed
down
in
my
tool
bag,
waiting
for
 the
dog
to
approach.



63



While
I
waited
I
thought
of
Abby.
She
would
be
horrified
if
she
knew
what
I
was
planning
 to
do.
She’d
want
me
to
call
the
cops
on
Hippie,
but
that
fucker
would
sell
me
out
in
a
second.
 He’d
 tell
 them
 I
 sold
 speed.
 It
 didn’t
 matter
 that
 I
 had
 quit.
 A
 house
 raid
 was
 a
 house
 raid.
 They’d
find
something
there
to
put
us
all
away.
I
couldn’t
explain
any
of
this
to
Abby.

 
 I
wanted
to
call
her
again,
it
had
been
two
months
since
she
kicked
me
out.
I
wanted
to
 tell
to
her
that
I
was
making
changes,
that
I
was
working
toward
goals
and
learning
things,
that
 this
 job
 wasn’t
 much,
 but
 it
 might
 lead
 to
 better
 opportunities.
Only
 now,
 as
 I
 write
 this,
 do
 I
 know
 how
 far
 from
 the
 truth
 I
 was
 in
 those
 longing
 moments.
 I
 thought
 I
 might
 call
 her
 that
 night
 and
 see
 if
 we
 could
 talk
 sometime
 soon.
 Have
 a
 coffee
 or
 something.
 Maybe
 work
 something
 out
 between
 us.
 She
 would
 be
 back
 from
 her
 parents’
 house
 soon,
 to
 get
 ready
 for
 school
to
start.

 I
peeked
from
behind
the
dumpster
and
noticed
the
dog
lying
on
the
dirt
in
his
usual
spot
 beside
Hippie’s
truck.
I
pictured
him
poisoned,
walking
in
circles,
licking
the
air,
foaming
at
the
 mouth.
I
pictured
him
bloated
and
whimpering
at
his
master.
I
knew
then
that
I
couldn’t
do
it.
I
 couldn’t
 kill
 an
 innocent,
 even
 a
 dog.
 Especially
 a
 dog.
 I
 might
 have
 killed
 Hippie
 in
 that
 moment,
 or
 the
 boss,
 but
 I
 didn’t
 do
 that
 either.
 I
 did
 nothing.
 I
 threw
 the
 sausage
 in
 the
 dumpster
and
stared
at
the
trees
for
a
while
until
I
was
yelled
at
to
pick
up
the
trash
around
the
 yard.

 
 *
 I
didn’t
go
back
to
work
after
that
day.
Seven
days
wasn’t
much,
but
it
was
the
longest
I’d
worked
 in
a
while.
I
called
Hippie
a
week
later
to
tell
him
where
to
have
the
boss
mail
my
check.
At
first
 he
was
irritated
that
I
hadn’t
shown
up,
but
then
perked
up
and
told
me
Brutus
finally
killed
a
 full‐grown
raccoon.
He
planned
to
buy
another
dog,
too,
to
train
him
to
fight.
He
said
he’d
keep
 a
 weight
 around
 his
 neck
 and
 so
 he
 could
 beef
 up
 and
 kill
 other
 dogs.
 I
 hung
 up
 the
 phone
 before
I
could
give
him
my
address.

 
 I
went
back
to
selling
weed
for
a
while,
just
to
get
on
my
feet.
I
never
talked
about
Brutus
 or
 the
 job
 again
 to
 Ernie
 or
 Dee.
 It
 was
 easier
 that
 way,
 to
 let
 the
 memory
 disappear
 into
 oblivion.
 The
 summer
 clapped
 to
 a
 close
 with
 me
 drunk
 every
 night,
 staying
 away
 from
 speed
 but
 still
 not
 winning
 any
 awards
 for
 success.
 I
 tried
 calling
 Abby
 a
 few
 times
 when
 I
 knew
 for
 sure
she’d
be
back
in
town.
I
don’t
know
what
happened,
but
she
never
picked
up
the
phone.
 
 
 
 
 2.
Halfway
 Victoria
was
this
goth
chick
I
was
with
for
a
time
who
was
good
for
me.
She
lived
in
one
of
those
 halfway
 houses
 for
 women,
 and
 even
 though
 she
 was
 two
 years
 older
 than
 me,
 twenty‐eight,
 they
treated
her
like
a
child.
At
first
they
had
her
well
under
control,
something
to
do
with
court
 orders,
 but
 once
 she
 managed
 to
 win
 over
 the
 guard,
 she
 was
 out
 most
 nights.
 She
 had
 an
 64
 



arranged
 job
 during
 the
 day,
 under
 watch,
 and
 after
 “lights
 out”
 she’d
 score
 some
 Vicodins
 or
 Percocets
or
something
equally
numbing,
and
seek
me
out
for
late
night
meetups.
We’d
usually
 shut
ourselves
up
in
my
room,
turn
off
the
lights
and
make
love
by
the
soft
glow
from
the
tall
red
 candles
we
had
stolen
from
a
nearby
Catholic
church.
She’d
read
me
Anaïs
Nin’s
erotica,
put
on
 a
Swans
record
or
something
equally
dark
and
sensual,
and
we’d
eat
our
painkillers
(which
we
 pretended
 were
 opium),
 and
 for
 the
 rest
 of
 the
 night
 we’d
 sit
 in
 my
 bed
 naked
 and
 talk
 until
 she’d
 have
 to
 leave
 and
 slip
 back
 into
 to
 her
 building
 before
 she
 was
 caught.
 I
 thought
 I’d
 reached
the
zenith
of
my
life.

 But
 that
 isn’t
 the
 story
 I
 want
 to
 tell,
 not
 really.
 This
 story
 begins
 with
 a
 phone
 call
 I
 received
 one
 evening
 from
 Victoria.
 She
 wanted
 to
 know
 if
 an
 acquaintance
 she
 had
 met
 in
 rehab
 a
 couple
 of
 years
 before
 could
 crash
 at
 my
 house
 for
 a
 few
 days.
 He
 would
 be
 passing
 through
in
a
week,
just
a
pit
stop
before
he
went
all
the
way
back
to
North
Carolina.

 I
said
yes,
of
course.
I
always
said
yes.
I
lived
in
a
house
where
more
people
came
through
 than
a
Motel
6,
and
sooner
or
later
I
thought
that
every
punk
or
outcast
in
America
would
pass
 through
our
city
and
stay
at
our
house.
Besides,
at
the
time
just
Ernie
and
I
lived
there,
so
there
 was
plenty
of
space.

 
 *
 All
I
knew
about
the
kid
was
his
name,
Max,
and
that
he
wasn’t
part
of
our
little
enclosed
punk
 rock
world
but
more
of
a
festival
goer,
someone
willing
to
travel
far
to
get
high
and
listen
to
bad
 music
 with
 crowds
 of
 yoyos.
 Victoria
 warned
 me
 that
 he
 was
 young
 and
 bright‐eyed
 and
 probably
came
from
money,
but
she
swore
I’d
get
along
okay
with
him.



 A
week
later
Max
showed
up
at
nine
o’clock
in
the
morning,
unannounced.
He
was
with
a
 girl,
his
girlfriend
Samantha,
who
had
blonde‐orange
bleached
dreadlocks
and
hemp
jewelry
and
 didn’t
 look
 a
 day
 over
 sixteen.
 I
 was
 still
 wearing
 my
 boxers
 when
 I
 opened
 the
 door
 and
 let
 them
in.
They
were
full
of
thank
yous
and
oh‐my‐gods,
just
bursting
to
tell
me
their
story.
I
told
 them
 to
 wait
 until
 I
 could
 get
 some
 coffee
 inside
 me.
 They
 plopped
 down
 on
 the
 couch
 with
 anxious
faces
and
I
went
to
the
kitchen.
By
that
time
Ernie
was
awake.
I
returned
with
a
full
pot
 of
coffee
and
cups
for
everyone.
 “Rice,”
Max
said
to
me.
“Do
you
know
where
we
just
came
from?”

 
 “California,”
I
said.
“That’s
all
I
know.”
 
 “We
 just
 spent
 the
 last
 two
 months
 trimming
 weed,”
 he
 said.
 “We’re
 goddamn
 balling.”
 They
both
shifted
around
on
the
couch,
acting
tweaky.
But
I
think
it
was
just
the
excitement
of
 traveling,
the
newness
of
everything,
their
unbridled
youth.

 
 Max
 said
 they
 had
 spent
 a
 month
 looking
 for
 jobs
 all
 around
 Humboldt
 County
 and
 finally
 landing
 one
 where
 armed
 men
 hovered
 around
 them
 with
 machine
 guns,
 mysteriously
 and
inexplicably
speaking
French
the
entire
time.
He
said
the
work
was
mostly
boring
and
long,
 but
otherwise
the
whole
thing
was
fine.

 
 “My
mind
was
actually
kind
of
numb
from
the
monotony,”
he
said.
“But
I
guess
I’m
okay
 with
that.”
He
laughed
and
then
so
did
she.
I
wasn’t
awake
enough
to
join
in.

 


65



I
walked
over
to
the
window
and
pushed
aside
the
lavender
sheet
that
served
as
a
curtain,
 and
 saw
 through
 the
 murky
 glass
 what
 they
 were
 driving:
 a
 beat
 up
 Dodge
 cop‐magnet
 I
 was
 surprised
 could
 make
 it
 across
 town,
 never
 mind
 across
 the
 country.
 The
 back
 taillight
 was
 broken
and
was
covered
with
red
tape
that
was
peeling
off
and
nearly
touched
the
ground,
like
a
 pathetic
wedding
streamer.

 “How
much
did
you
get?”
Ernie
said.
 “They
 gave
 us
 each
 a
 thousand
 dollars
 cash,”
 Max
 said,
 pronouncing
 the
 words
 like
 a
 game
show
host.
“And
a
massive
brick
of
weed
as
the
rest
of
our
payment.”
 “What’d
you
do
with
the
weed?”
Ernie
said.
I
could
see
his
interest
in
his
eyes.
Ernie
was
 my
 closest
 friend
 and
 probably
 the
 person
 with
 whom
 I’d
 been
 through
 the
 most.
 He
 liked
 to
 smoke
weed
more
than
me,
and
we
had
both
sold
it
on
and
off
for
years.
We
were
always
looking
 for
another
hustle,
a
way
to
make
money
quick
and
avoid
working
too
much.
But
recently
I
had
 been
trying
to
get
away
from
not
knowing
where
my
next
dollar
would
come
from,
away
from
all
 the
drama,
from
my
natural
paranoia
that
was
only
enhanced
in
that
kind
of
money
making.

 “In
the
trunk,”
Max
said.
“We’re
going
to
sell
it
in
Asheville,
one
eighth
at
a
time.
We’ll
 make
a
shit‐ton
off
all
those
hippies.”
 “It’s
in
the
trunk
now?”
I
said.

“Do
you
know
about
our
state,
how
strict
it
is?

 “I
doubt
it’s
worse
than
North
Carolina.”
 “Jesus,”
I
said.
“It’s
a
miracle
you
weren’t
pulled
over
already.”

 “What
are
we
supposed
to
do?”
he
said.
 I
pictured
him
on
the
ground
face
down,
a
cop
on
his
back
cuffing
his
wrists
and
laughing
 at
his
naiveté.
I
wondered
if
Victoria
knew
about
the
weed,
if
she
hadn’t
said
anything
over
the
 phone
for
security
reasons,
or
if
she
was
trying
to
finagle
some
for
herself.

 “Let
me
make
a
couple
of
call,”
I
said.
I
couldn’t
live
with
myself
if
I
didn’t
try
to
help
him.
 
 *
 I
had
a
friend
named
Jim,
whose
brother,
Nate,
was
a
gangster‐type
weed
slinger
who
dealt
in
 large
quantities.
Everyone
knew
to
be
careful
with
him.
He
was
known
to
carry
a
gun,
but
he
was
 also
 a
 friend’s
 brother,
 a
 man
 vouched
 for
 all
 day
 long
 by
 anyone
 who
 really
 knew
 him—and
 some
of
my
friends
had
spent
a
lot
of
time
smoking
weed
with
him
in
various
houses
all
around
 town.
 It
 was
 strange,
 and
 yet
 not
 uncommon
 to
 see
 drug‐dealing
 gangsters
 hanging
 out
 and
 smoking
blunts
with
punks
kids.
We
were
all
on
the
fringe
in
our
neighborhood
and
had
more
 reasons
to
have
each
other’s
back
than
fight
against
one
another.

 I
 got
 Nate’s
 number
 and
 made
 an
 arrangement
 for
 a
 meeting
 that
 night
 to
 discuss
 him
 buying
 the
 whole
 chunk
 of
 weed
 at
 a
 fair
 price.
 I
 called
 Victoria
 and
 let
 her
 know
 with
 vague
 language
what
was
happening.
I
wanted
to
keep
her
in
the
loop.
I
wanted
her
to
know
that
I
was
 trying
 to
 help
 her
 friends
 get
 home
 safe.
 Maybe
 another
 part
 of
 me
 wanted
 to
 impress
 her,
 to
 show
her
what
I
was
able
to
make
happen
with
just
a
phone
call.



66
 



Nate
 showed
 up
 to
 the
 house
 after
 the
 sun
 went
 down.
 He
 walked
 in
 wearing
 a
 puffy
 jacket
and
a
flatbrim
Seahawks
hat
cocked
to
the
side.
He
looked
the
part
of
an
urban
hard
ass,
 though
I
knew
from
Jim
that
he
was
raised
as
a
Mormon
white
boy
on
the
south
side.

 Nate’s
eyes
scanned
the
room
swiftly,
glancing
at
the
broken
and
tattered
furniture
in
the
 living
room,
and
then
to
an
art
piece
nailed
to
the
wall,
a
scrabble
board
with
letters
glued
over
 the
squares
spelling
the
words,
THE
CRACK
HOUSE,
in
three
stacked
lines.

 “Funny,”
he
said,
without
laughing.
“Where’s
the
weed?”
 Max
brought
out
the
backpack
with
the
weed
in
it
and
set
it
on
the
coffee
table,
which
 was
 covered
 with
 stickers
 of
 bands
 we
 liked
 or
 bands
 who
 had
 stayed
 with
 us
 over
 the
 years.
 Nate
unwrapped
the
package
that
was
not
much
smaller
than
a
basketball,
smelled
it,
broke
off
a
 nug
and
put
it
in
a
glass
pipe
and
lit
it.
As
we
passed
the
pipe
around,
Nate
took
a
digital
scale
 from
 his
 messenger
 bag
 and
 set
 the
 weed
 on
 it.
 I
 was
 blazed
 out
 of
 my
 mind
 within
 seconds,
 barely
able
to
speak.
Nate
sat
quietly
as
if
pondering
the
chemical
makeup
of
the
plant
he’d
just
 smoked
and
finally
said,
“This
is
good.
I’ll
give
you
four
thousand
but
I
can’t
get
it
till
tomorrow.”
 Everything
 he
 said
 was
 simple
 and
 direct,
 as
 if
 inflections
 or
 adjectives
 might
 accidentally
 emasculate
him.
 “But
it’s
worth
way
more
than
that,”
Max
said.
His
voice
was
tremulous,
either
from
fear
 or
the
drug
he
had
smoked.
 “I
don’t
have
to
buy
it
at
all,”
Nate
said.
Simple
and
direct.
 Max
and
Samantha
looked
at
each
other
and
Samantha
nodded.

 “Okay,”
Max
said.
“Four
thousand.”
We
all
sat
fidgeting
in
our
awkward
high
until
Nate
 got
up
to
leave.
He
wrote
something
down
on
a
piece
of
paper
and
handed
it
to
Max.
 “Meet
me
at
this
address
at
five
o’clock
tomorrow.”
He
walked
out
the
door
and
let
the
 storm
door
slam
shut
behind
him.

 “I
told
you
I’d
find
you
someone,”
I
said.

 
 *
 That
night
Victoria
tapped
on
my
bedroom
door
around
midnight,
just
as
I
was
winding
down
 for
the
evening.
I
opened
my
door
and
she
sat
down
beside
me
on
my
bed
because
that’s
all
I
 had
in
my
room
to
sit
on.
I
explained
what
happened,
about
the
weed
and
the
deal
with
Nate.
 She
said
she
knew
nothing
about
the
weed
but
she
wasn’t
surprised.

 “How
do
you
know
you
can
trust
this
guy?”
she
said.
She
untied
her
tall
black
boots
and
 kicked
them
off,
onto
the
floor.

 “It’s
a
friend’s
brother,”
I
said.
I
sat
squarely
facing
her
and
tried
to
make
my
words
mean
 something.
“They
won’t
make
it
out
of
here
alive
if
they
don’t
do
this.
I
don’t
know
why,
but
I
 can
feel
it.”
 “Let’s
buy
some
of
it
for
us
to
sell,”
she
said.
She
had
on
her
cute
face
and
it
pissed
me
off.
 I
felt
like
she
wasn’t
listening
to
a
word
I
was
saying.
Or
rather,
like
all
she
heard
was
the
one
 word
 that
 mattered,
 weed,
 and
 the
 word
 itself
 switched
 off
 an
 important
 part
 of
 her
 brain.
 “I
 need
some
real
money
for
when
I
get
out
of
that
fucking
prison
of
a
house.”

 


67



“I’m
not
doing
that
shit
anymore,”
I
said.
I
didn’t
like
what
weed
did
to
people.
I
didn’t
 like
 seeing
 the
 lust
 in
 people’s
 eyes.
 It
 made
 me
 question
 whether
 my
 friends
 were
 even
 my
 friends,
whether
I
could
trust
the
closest
people
I
knew.

 Right
then
I
remembered
a
conversation
I
had
with
my
stepdad
one
time.
He
told
me
that
 friends
were
really
just
leeches,
that
they
couldn’t
be
trusted,
that
they
would
try
to
steal
your
 shit
and
sleep
with
your
wife.
He
was
drunk
when
he
said
this
and
I
argued
with
him
for
a
good
 while,
and
he
just
laughed
at
me
and
threw
his
empty
beer
can
across
the
yard
at
a
painted
tree
 stump
 we
 kept
 for
 decoration
 among
 the
 crab
 grass.
 I
 had
 resented
 my
 stepdad’s
 view
 of
 the
 world,
 the
 brief
 time
 that
 he
 was
 in
 my
 life,
 before
 my
 mom
 threw
 him
 out,
 which
 probably
 reinforced
his
view
of
humanity.
I
never
wanted
to
feel
that
way
myself.
If
anything,
I
put
all
of
 myself
into
my
friendships.
My
friends
were
my
world,
my
real
family,
and
had
been
for
years.
I
 sometimes
 felt
 nostalgia
 for
 a
 time
 when
 I
 was
 Max’s
 age,
 or
 even
 before,
 when
 life
 really
 was
 just
fun
with
your
friends,
when
we
weren’t
yet
smart
enough
to
take
advantage
of
one
another.

 “All
right,
babe,”
she
said.
“You
win.
But
what
am
I
supposed
to
do
for
money?”
 
 “I
can
get
you
a
job
at
the
restaurant,”
I
said.
I
worked
at
a
pizza
place
on
North
Western
 Avenue.
I
washed
dishes,
so
the
pay
was
shit,
but
at
least
I
didn’t
have
to
look
over
my
shoulder
 every
day
to
make
money.

 
 Suddenly,
Victoria
stood
up
and
grabbed
her
boots
and
started
to
put
them
on
her
feet.

 
 “What
 are
 you
 doing?”
 I
 said,
 and
 grabbed
 her
 wrist
 a
 little
 too
 hard
 without
 thinking.
 She
whirled
around
and
tried
to
hit
me
with
the
boot
in
her
other
hand,
and
I
grabbed
her
other
 wrist
and
held
them
like
a
vice.

 
 “Let
me
the
fuck
go,”
she
said.
She
struggled
to
free
her
hands,
still
holing
one
boot
in
her
 right
fist.
 
 “Listen,”
I
said,
trying
to
remain
calm.
“I’m
sorry.
Just
chill
out
and
we
can
talk.”
I
let
her
 wrists
go
when
I
felt
her
body
release
its
tension.
She
let
the
boot
drop
to
the
floor
and
again
sat
 down
on
the
bed.

 
 “You
don’t
know
what
it’s
like
living
under
lock
and
key.
You
don’t
know
what
I’ve
done
 to
get
out
of
that
house
to
see
you.”

 
 “You’ve
never
told
me,”
I
said.
We
had
only
been
seeing
each
other
six
months
and
five
of
 them
she
was
held
captive.
I
didn’t
know
how
she
escaped
or
how
she
passed
her
drug
tests.
I
 suspected
she
had
to
hook
somebody
up
with
drugs,
but
she
never
mentioned
any
of
this
to
me
 and
I
never
asked
because
I
didn’t
like
to
ask
questions
that
I
was
afraid
of
the
answers.
 
 “Well
I’m
not
telling
you
now
either,”
she
said.
She
stood
up
and
sifted
through
records,
 skipping
over
all
the
punk
and
metal,
and
pulled
out
Brian
Eno
and
put
it
on
the
turntable.
She
 went
out
of
my
room
and
came
back
with
a
full
glass
of
water
and
two
pills
in
her
hand.

 
 “Let’s
 just
 relax,”
 she
 said.
 We
 took
 the
 pills
 and
 relaxed,
 and
 lay
 whispering
 about
 nothing
serious
until
we
drifted
off
to
sleep.
As
was
our
habit,
she
was
gone
by
the
time
I
woke
 up.
 
 *
 68
 



The
next
day
they
called
me
into
work
at
the
last
minute
and
I
couldn’t
say
no,
so
I
went
in
at
 four
and
I
couldn’t
go
with
Max
and
Samantha
to
meet
Nate.
Work
was
normal
for
a
Tuesday,
 steady
but
not
overly
hectic.
I
was
in
the
kitchen
washing
dishes
when
the
manager
came
in.

 “You’ve
got
another
phone
call,
Rice,”
he
said.
I
hated
the
way
he
pronounced
my
name,
 like
 he
 couldn’t
 stand
 saying
 the
 word.
 But
 I
 also
 needed
 this
 job
 and
 didn’t
 want
 to
 tell
 him
 what
 I
 really
 thought
 of
 him,
 that
 he
 was
 an
 insecure
 corporate
 automaton
 that
 probably
 actually
liked
his
job.

 “Oh,
sorry,”
I
said.
I
was
trying
to
sound
sincere.
I
set
down
the
dish
I
was
washing
and
 dried
my
hands.
 “I’m
tired
of
telling
you
to
stop
having
your
friends
call
you
at
work.
If
this
happens
again
 I
may
have
to
let
you
go.”
He
set
the
cordless
phone
on
a
drying
rack.

 
 “I
 swear
 I
 told
 them
 not
 to,”
 I
 said,
 but
 he
 had
 already
 walked
 through
 the
 swinging
 kitchen
door.

 
 I
picked
up
the
phone.
It
was
Max.
 
 “That
 bastard
 ripped
 us
 off!”
 he
 said.
 “He
 put
 a
 gun
 in
 my
 face
 and
 stole
 the
 weed
 and
 drove
off.”
His
voice
sounded
like
crying
that
was
trying
not
to.
 
 “Nate?”
I
said.
I
couldn’t
believe
it.
“Was
he
alone?”
 
 “Yes
he
was
alone,”
he
said.
“And
it’s
your
fucking
fault.”
 
 “My
fault?”
I
said.
“How
is
this
my
fault?”

 
 I
 was
 going
 crazy
 the
 rest
 of
 my
 shift.
 The
 work
 didn’t
 help
 me
 take
 my
 mind
 off
 the
 problem.
 Washing
 dishes
 wasn’t
 really
 mindless.
 It
 helped
 you
 think
 better,
 to
 concentrate
 on
 the
problem
and
hold
on
to
it
for
hours.

 
 Nate
 probably
 knew
 what
 he
 was
 doing,
 exposing
 and
 ripping
 apart
 the
 fragile
 seam
 of
 connection
between
those
two
kids
and
I,
of
the
supposed
code
of
our
friendship
based
solely
on
 the
fact
that
we
were
different
from
the
norm,
that
we
knew
some
of
the
same
people
and
that
 was
somehow
enough
put
your
life
down
on
the
line
for
each
other.
Or
likely
Nate
had
just
seen
 an
opportunity
and
nothing
was
going
to
stop
him.

 
 He
didn’t
give
a
fuck
about
us.
I
imaged
Nate
at
his
house
with
his
friends
smoking
the
 weed
and
laughing
at
us.
I
pictured
him
polishing
his
gun
and
calling
us
the
same
names
we
had
 been
called
in
junior
high.
I
had
no
idea
what
could
be
done.
Was
it
even
my
problem?
All
I
had
 been
trying
to
do
was
keep
those
kids
out
of
jail.

 
 After
work
I
peddled
my
bike
as
fast
as
I
could
and
when
I
got
home
Max,
Samantha,
and
 Ernie
 were
 in
 the
 living
 room
 pacing
 back
 and
 forth
 and
 winding
 each
 other
 up.
 A
 chair
 was
 turned
over
and
I
could
see
Ernie’s
dog,
Yelp,
hiding
under
the
coffee
table
away
from
stomping
 feet.

 
 “I
thought
we
could
trust
you,”
Samantha
said.
Her
face
was
red
and
puffy.
Until
then
she
 had
been
almost
mute.
Now
it
was
like
she
was
empowered
by
being
pushed
around,
like
they
 had
 each
 rehearsed
 how
 they
 would
 put
 all
 the
 blame
 on
 me
 and
 were
 just
 waiting
 for
 me
 to
 walk
through
the
door.
“Victoria
said
we
could
trust
you.”



69



“Goddammit,
you
can
trust
me,”
I
said.
“This
isn’t
my
fault.
I
was
trying
to
help.
I
don’t
 know
what
the
fuck
happened
but
I
want
to
figure
this
shit
out.”
 
 “What
happened
is
we
were
set
up,”
Max
said.
“We
keep
trying
to
call
him
and
he
won’t
 answer
his
phone,
the
bastard.
He
has
our
shit
and
we’re
helpless
to
get
it
back.”
 
 “I
like
that
he
knows
he
can
fuck
us
over
and
we’ll
do
nothing
about
it,”
Ernie
said,
like
it
 was
his
weed
that
was
stolen.
“What
does
that
say
about
us?”

 
 And
 there
 it
 was
 again.
 We
 couldn’t
 do
 anything
 about
 it.
 We
 couldn’t
 call
 the
 cops
 because
 it
 was
 a
 drug
 deal,
 and
 even
 if
 we
 could,
 we
 wouldn’t.
 We
 were
 against
 the
 cops.
 We
 were
 the
 ones
 usually
 getting
 hassled
 by
 the
 damn
 cops.
 We
 weren’t
 about
 to
 sic
 them
 on
 anyone
else.

 
 “Remember
that
redneck
guy
I
used
to
sell
weed
to?”
Ernie
said
to
me.
“Remember
what
 he
did
to
that
guy
that
tried
to
get
over
on
him?”
Ernie
was
smoking
a
cigarette
inside.
We
had
 argued
 forever
 about
 smoking
 cigarettes
 inside,
 deciding
 finally
 against
 it.
 But
 here
 he
 was,
 puffing
on
a
Bugler
like
it
was
his
right,
the
situation
nullifying
any
previous
agreements.
 
 “Give
me
a
smoke,”
I
said.
“I’ll
roll
it
myself.”
I
didn’t
even
smoke
anymore
but
I
wanted
 one
just
then.
 
 “What
 did
 the
 redneck
 guy
 do?”
 Samantha
 said
 with
 voice
 that
 sounded
 like
 it
 was
 coming
from
the
bottom
of
a
well.

 Ernie
told
the
story
as
we
heard
it
from
the
man
himself,
how
one
day
the
redneck
came
 home
to
his
trailer
house
and
found
it
robbed.
He
lived
outside
of
town
in
the
country,
so
there
 were
no
eyewitnesses.
Somebody
had
stolen
his
boat,
his
TV,
and
a
few
other
things,
and
they
 stole
a
nice
four‐wheeler
that
his
buddy
was
trying
to
sell
to
him
at
that
time.
The
guy
who
was
 robbed,
I’ll
call
him
Redneck
1,
called
his
friend,
Redneck
2,
and
told
him
about
the
robbery
and
 his,
 Redneck
 2’s,
 missing
 four‐wheeler.
 On
 the
 phone,
 Redneck
 2
 didn’t
 sound
 surprised
 (or
 upset)
 that
 his
 four‐wheeler
 was
 stolen,
 which
 alerted
 Redneck
 1
 that
 maybe
 something
 was
 wrong,
 that
 maybe
 it
 was
 actually
 Redneck
 2
 who
 robbed
 the
 house.
 Redneck
 1
 kidnapped
 Redneck
2
at
gunpoint
and
took
him
door
to
door,
all
over
the
countryside,
showing
his
face
to
 every
neighbor
around,
one
by
one,
warning
them
to
watch
out
for
this
spineless
maggot
thief
he
 had
by
the
ear
lobe.
Eventually
he
dragged
the
guy
into
the
woods
and
tied
him
to
a
tree,
beat
 him
half
to
death,
and
put
a
gun
in
his
face
until
the
guy
pissed
and
shat
himself
and
admitted
 everything.
Finally
he
let
the
guy.
Redneck
1
told
Ernie
and
me
that
he
had
“learned”
the
guy
a
 lesson.”
Ernie
had
laughed,
calling
it
“swift
justice.”
But
I
didn’t
find
it
very
funny.
I
wondered
if
 the
story
was
a
warning
to
us
if
the
weed
we
were
selling
him
wasn’t
good
enough.
Or
maybe
it
 was
just
a
story
to
show
what
kind
of
man
he
was,
what
men
should
be,
and
less
and
less
were
 not.
 
 “We
aren’t
rednecks,”
I
said
to
Ernie,
who
was
still
moving
back
and
forth
across
the
filthy
 wooden
 floor
while
 Max
 and
 Samantha
 sat
 on
 the
 couch,
 looking
whipped
 and
 dejected.
 “And
 we
certainly
aren’t
gangsters.”
 
 *
 70
 



When
some
time
later
Victoria
walked
through
the
door,
we
were
all
sitting
on
the
couch
and
 were
 going
 over
 propositions
 of
 what
 could
 possibly
 be
 done.
 I
 had
 called
 Jim
 but
 he
 wasn’t
 answering
the
phone.
I
didn’t
know
if
he
knew
his
brother
was
a
scumbag,
or
if
Jim
himself
was
 in
on
it.
For
all
I
knew
Jim
had
dreamt
up
the
whole
idea
himself.

 
 Victoria
was
upset,
of
course,
and
she
tried
to
get
me
to
buck
up
against
Nate,
to
threaten
 him
 or
 at
 the
 very
 least
 try
 to
 convince
 him
 to
 give
 the
 weed
 back
 out
 of
 the
 goodness
 of
 his
 heart.
 
 “Are
you
fucking
kidding
me?”
I
said.
“We’re
lucky
if
he
doesn’t
come
after
us
now.
Just
 for
the
hell
of
it.”
That
idea
hadn’t
entered
my
mind
until
I
spoke
the
words
out
loud.
 
 “Would
he
do
that?”
Max
said.
“I
mean
would
he
actually
do
that?”
 
 “I
 doubt
 it,”
 I
 said.
 But,
 of
 course,
 I
 didn’t
 really
 know.
 We
 decided
 it
 was
 best
 to
 be
 prepared
for
anything.
We
looked
all
over
the
house
for
any
kind
of
weapon
we
could
find
and
 only
came
up
with
a
baseball
bat
and
a
couple
of
dull
kitchen
knives.
It
was
well
past
four
in
the
 morning
 by
 then.
 Everyone
 was
 weary.
 I
 knew
 Victoria
 had
 to
 be
 back
 in
 a
 few
 hours
 or
 otherwise
she
would
violate
her
court
order
and
add
time
to
her
sentence,
or
possibly
go
back
to
 jail.
I
was
disgusted
with
what
we
had
been
reduced
to:
defenseless
fearful
children.
 
 We
never
slept
that
night.
I
borrowed
Ernie’s
car
to
take
Victoria
home,
and
by
then
we
 had
let
go
of
any
anger,
and
our
fear
dwindled
to
a
resigned
fatigue.

 I
 wanted
 to
 protect
 her
 somehow,
 but
 I
 knew
 I
 couldn’t.
 I
 felt
 like
 a
 walking
 paradox.
 I
 hated
 chivalry
and
everything
it
stood
for.
I
resented
that
as
a
man
I
was
expected
to
protect
her.
But
 then,
for
once
I
wanted
that
responsibility
too.
I
wanted
what
adults
want.
I
wanted
to
show
her
 that
I
could
be
there,
that
if
things
became
dangerous
she’d
have
nothing
to
worry
about.

 We
didn’t
talk
on
the
drive
home.
We
spoke
only
after
I
parked
the
car
a
block
down
the
 street
from
her
halfway
house,
out
of
sight
of
anyone
with
authority
that
might
be
awake.

 
 “I
want
you
to
work
with
me,”
I
said.
“At
the
restaurant.”
 
 “I
 don’t
 care
 about
 that
 right
 now,
 Rice.
 What
 about
 the
 asshole
 with
 the
 gun?”
 
 “I
shouldn’t
have
said
what
I
said.
Why
would
he
go
after
us?”
I
said,
and
leaned
over
and
 kissed
her.

 
 “I’ll
stop
by
tomorrow
night.”
She
kissed
me
and
got
out
of
the
car
and
walked
swiftly
to
 her
building
and
entered
the
back.

 
 On
 the
 way
 home
 I
 thought
 I
 saw
 Nate’s
 Cutlass
 at
 a
 gas
 station
 a
 few
 blocks
 from
 the
 house.
When
I
drove
past
I
realized
it
wasn’t
him.
I
drove
around
a
while
looking
for
his
car
and
 never
saw
it.

 
 The
sun
was
rising
by
the
time
I
got
home.
I
slumped
into
bed
and
lay
there
imagining
 the
 worst,
 letting
 one
 nightmare
 vision
 of
 violence
 collide
 with
 another
 until
 I
 drifted
 off
 to
 sleep.

 

 Max
 and
 Samantha
 left
 before
 I
 woke
 without
 saying
 goodbye.
 They
 wrote
 a
 note
 expressing
their
disappointment
in
me,
for
my
lack
of
solidarity
for
friends
in
need.
They
said
to
 tell
 Victoria
 goodbye
 for
 them,
 said
 they
 wouldn’t
 ever
 come
 back.
 I
 tried
 to
 call
 Jim
 again,
 thinking
 maybe
 it
 was
 all
 a
 mistake,
 that
 he
 could
 talk
 sense
 into
 his
 brother,
 rectify
 the
 


71



situation.
But
he
never
answered
the
phone.
It
was
sickening
the
way
you
couldn’t
trust
a
friend
 when
you
thought
you
could,
how,
at
its
worst,
fear
infects
everyone
and
everything
around
you.

 I
tried
to
reach
Jim
a
few
more
times
that
day
and
gave
up.
After
a
long
exhausting
day
I
 lay
 in
 bed
 that
 evening
 listing
 to
 music,
 anticipating
 Victoria’s
 arrival,
 trying
 to
 think
 about
 nothing
but
the
numbness
I
would
soon
feel.

 
 
 
 
 
 3.
Sugar
Punks
 We
had
been
in
Kemper,
Montana,
for
about
a
week
when
Coal
and
Melanie
stomped
into
our
 camp
on
a
gusty
October
afternoon,
each
with
oversized
army
packs,
their
dog
they
called
Lost
 trailing
behind
on
a
threadbare
leash.
Everyone
except
Coal
and
Melanie
had
already
signed
up
 with
the
sugar
beet
company,
had
been
issued
day‐glow
vests,
white
hard
hats
and
safety
glasses,
 and
 we
 were
 just
 waiting
 for
 the
 weather
 and
 humidity
 to
 cooperate
 so
 we
 could
 work.
 In
 the
 meantime
 life
 was
 an
 endless
 party.
 We
 played
 dice
 games
 or
 cards,
 went
 on
 walks,
 or
 milled
 around
 the
 campsite
 and
 chain‐smoked
 hand‐rolled
 cigarettes.
 Sometimes
 we
 sat
 with
 a
 paperback
or
journal,
or
chitchatted
with
a
close
friend
or
lover
until
the
hour
we
could
justify
 beginning
to
drink.

 Their
arrival
was
momentous,
signaling
the
gang
was
all
there.
But
I
wasn’t
sure
I
wanted
 to
see
them.
I
had
a
secret
I
was
keeping
from
Coal
that
I
needed
to
figure
out
how
to
reveal.
He
 was
 a
 good
 friend,
 someone
 who
 would
 take
 betrayal
 hard.
 But
 then,
 drama
 happened
 all
 the
 time.
As
I
awaited
his
arrival,
I
kept
telling
myself,
kept
hoping,
that
anything
could
be
forgiven.

 
 *
 That
 year
 the
 sugar
 beet
 company
 had
 worked
 something
 out
 with
 the
 county,
 gave
 us
 permission
to
camp
at
the
fairgrounds
a
couple
of
miles
away
from
the
processing
factory,
and
of
 course
we
made
a
mess
of
everything
and
I’m
certain
the
company
regretted
it.
The
Mexicans
we
 worked
with
stayed
in
a
cheap
motel
somewhere
in
town.
We
tried
to
get
to
know
them,
though
 they
seemed
to
prefer
distance
from
what
I
imagine
they
saw
as
trouble.
 And
it
wasn’t
just
them.
The
locals
were
annoyed
with
us
too,
but
they
accepted
us
like
 you
might
a
dormant
disease.
It
would
be
years
before
I
let
pride
in
self‐isolation
wither
away,
 and
that
transition
would
be
painful.
I
wasn’t
ready
yet.
I
was
still
just
a
kid.

 

 It
 was
 1999.
 I
 remember
 because
 after
 working
 the
 sugar
 beets,
 some
 of
 the
 gang
 rode
 trains
to
Seattle
to
protest
the
WTO
and
were
obliterated
by
the
police.
Or
so
I
later
heard.
We
 were
full
of
rage
and
self‐righteousness
back
then,
but
in
Kemper,
two
months
before
Seattle,
we
 were
far
less
political.
There
were
about
twenty
of
us
gutter
punks
from
everywhere,
all
with
the
 same
 plan:
 get
 as
 tanked
 as
 possible,
 as
 often
 as
 possible,
 and
 still
 manage
 to
 get
 a
 decent
 paycheck
at
the
end
of
three
or
four
weeks
of
hellish
toil—twelve
hours
a
day,
seven
days
a
week.
 72
 



We
 joked
 that
 people
 wouldn’t
 want
 sugar
 in
 their
 birthday
 cakes
 if
 they
 knew
 lowlifes
 and
 fuckups
made
it
from
beets.

 
 *
 That
 first
 night
 with
 Coal
 and
 Melanie
 we
 made
 a
 fire
 against
 regulations.
 A
 dozen
 of
 us
 sat
 around
 the
 fire
 and
 played
 a
 drinking
 game
 called
 “Never
 Have
 I
 Ever.”
 The
 sky
 was
 overcast,
 which
made
it
cold,
but
the
booze
kept
me
warm
enough
as
we
played.

 As
always,
the
game
began
innocently,
and
soon
turned
to
sex
and
debauchery.
When
it
 was
Coal’s
turn
to
play,
he
said,
“Never
have
I
ever
fucked
a
Canadian.”
As
he
did
so,
he
gave
an
 exaggerated
wink
to
the
group
and
took
a
drink.
I
swallowed
without
thinking,
indicating
that
I
 too
 had
 slept
 with
 a
 Canadian.
 The
 idea
 was,
 if
 you
 had
 done
 whatever
 was
 said,
 you
 drank.
 Otherwise
you
didn’t.
When
I
stupidly
sipped
from
my
can
of
beer,
Coal
noticed
and
asked
who
 she
was.

 “Nobody,”
I
said.
“You
don’t
know
her.”

 I
could
have
just
said
I
accidentally
took
a
sip,
but
I
wasn’t
thinking.
I
could
have
lied,
but
 I
didn’t.

 
 “No
really,”
Coal
said,
“who’d
you
fuck,
Rice?”

 Melanie
 laughed
 and
 held
 the
 bag
 of
 Franzia
 above
 her
 head
 and
 trickled
 red
 wine
 into
 her
 mouth
and
down
her
chin.

 
 “This
girl
I
met
at
a
squat
in
Montreal
last
summer,”
I
said.
I
didn’t
know
what
to
say.
I
 usually
didn’t.
I
was
always
saying
and
doing
the
wrong
things.

 
 “Hey
babe,”
Coal
said.
“Throw
me
the
space
bag.”
Taking
the
bladder
out
of
the
box
made
 it
easier
to
pass
around.
Melanie
tossed
the
bag
of
wine
to
Coal
who
squeezed
it
like
a
bagpipe,
 guzzled,
and
lobbed
it
to
someone
else.

 
 Minutes
 went
 by
 and
 I
 thought
 he’d
 given
 up
 on
 the
 topic.
 We
 played
 a
 couple
 more
 rounds
until
someone
inevitably
blurted,
“Never
have
I
ever
had
scabies,”
which
obligated
most
 of
us
to
drink.
I
tried
to
think
of
something
other
than
the
tension
I
was
feeling,
wondering
if
I
 might
find
a
gentle
way
to
confess
to
Coal.
Then,
as
though
he’d
been
chewing
on
that
dangling
 morsel
the
whole
time,
Coal
said,
“Melanie
probably
knows
her.
She’s
from
Montreal.
What’s
her
 name?”
 
 “Yeah,
Rice,
tell
us
her
name,”
Melanie
said
before
I
could
answer,
and
then
laughed.
Her
 accent
seemed
more
acute
than
before,
which
usually
I
found
endearing.
Now
it
irritated
me.
 
 “I
 know
 Melanie’s
 from
 there,”
 I
 said
 to
 Coal,
 ignoring
 Melanie.
 “I
 can’t
 remember
 her
 name.
 Some
 blonde
 girl
 from
 out
 of
 town.”
 I
 gulped
 down
 the
 rest
 of
 my
 beer
 and
 opened
 another.
 Everyone
 around
 the
 fire
 was
 uncommonly
 silent,
 looking
 at
 me,
 the
 fire
 crackling
 between
us.

 “It
was
when
you
were
doing
the
blueberry
harvest
in
Maine,”
I
said.
“I
was
in
Montreal
 for
the
Anarchist
Book
Fair.”

 
 “The
book
fair
was
way
before
the
blueberries,”
he
said.
“I
was
there
and
I
never
saw
you.
I
 had
no
idea
you
were
in
Canada.”
 


73



“I’m
sure
I
told
you
I
was
in
Canada.”
 
 “No
you
didn’t,”
he
said.
 “Who
cares,”
my
friend
Seth
said,
finally.
“Are
we
playing
a
drinking
game
or
talking
bullshit?”
 
 Everyone
was
happy
to
have
their
mindless
chatter
back.
We
kept
playing
the
game
until
 we
 were
 too
 drunk
 to
 find
 it
 interesting.
 The
 night
 was
 growing
 more
 frigid.
 I
 was
 glad
 the
 familiar
numbing
feeling
of
alcohol
was
setting
in.
 At
 some
 point
 I
 went
 to
 piss
 at
 the
 dark
 edge
 of
 the
 field.
 Coal
 snuck
 behind
 me
 and
 startled
me.

 “I
knew
something
was
going
on
with
you
and
Melanie,”
he
said.
He
leaned
into
me,
our
 faces
nearly
touching.
“You’re
a
fucking
little
scumbag,
you
know
that?
A
slimy
little
worm.”
 
 “Man,
it’s
not
like
that,”
I
said.
“You’ve
got
it
wrong.”
My
slurred
voice
couldn’t
convince
a
 child.
The
truth
was
I
had
slept
with
his
girlfriend,
but
it
was
all
over
by
then
and
I
was
trying
to
 forget
anything
had
ever
happened.
I
was
always
a
bad
liar,
but
that
wasn’t
all.
I
think
I
might
 have
wanted
to
get
caught,
to
make
things
even
between
us.

 
 “She’s
 been
 acting
 weird
 around
 you
 for
 I
 don’t
 know
 how
 long,”
 he
 said.
 “You
 better
 watch
your
back.”
He
poked
me
stiffly
in
the
chest
with
his
baton‐like
index
finger.
He
was
much
 larger
than
me
and
about
a
decade
older,
in
his
early
thirties.
I
don’t
know
why
he
didn’t
beat
me
 right
then.

 
 *
 Coal
was
the
oldest
of
all
of
us,
had
been
traveling
the
longest,
and
therefore
took
the
position
as
 wisest.
 I
 looked
 up
 to
 him,
 but
 felt
 more
 like
 a
 protégé
 than
 an
 equal.
 I
 never
 knew
 if
 he
 respected
 me
 or
 even
 took
 me
 seriously.
 And
 yet
 I
 still
 admired
 him,
 we
 all
 did.
 None
 of
 us
 believed
in
leaders,
though
if
we
did,
Coal
would
have
been
ours.

 Now
everything
was
different.
The
whole
time
in
Kemper
I
did
my
best
to
avoid
Coal
and
 Melanie.
We
slept
and
worked
in
the
same
places,
but
our
worksite
was
so
massive
you
wouldn’t
 see
someone
if
they
were
assigned
to
another
station.

 The
 company
 liked
 to
 spread
 us
 out
 so
 we
 would
 actually
 work
 and
 not
 yap
 all
 day
 with
 our
 friends.

 Management
assigned
me
to
Piler
#
3.
In
my
 group
there
was
Seth,
three
Mexican
 guys
 who
didn’t
speak
English,
and
me.
Each
of
us
took
turns
sampling
the
temp
on
the
occasional
 beet,
 guiding
 trucks
 in
 to
 drop
 beets
 off,
 filling
 bags
 up,
 while
 two
 humorless
 locals
 worked
 massive
 conveyer
 belts
 like
 a
 couple
 of
 pros.
 As
 it
 happened,
 Coal
 was
 across
 the
 yard
 in
 the
 factory,
with
more
responsibilities.
Melanie
was
half
a
mile
from
either
of
us
with
another
group
 like
mine.

 Still
 I
 was
 a
 nervous
 wreck
 for
 days.
 I
 couldn’t
 sleep
 at
 night.
 I
 dwelled
 and
 dwelled
 on
 what
we’d
done,
wracked
with
guilt.
I’d
picture
all
the
good
times
with
Coal,
going
to
shows
or
 sitting
 around
 the
 fire
 telling
 stories,
 and
 again
 guilt
 took
 me
 in
 its
 claws.
 Then
 fear
 would
 overtake
guilt
when
I
remembered
his
warnings
of
pounding
my
face
in.


74
 



In
those
days
I
ran
with
a
crew
of
four
or
five
travelers.
We’d
meet
up
a
few
times
a
year,
 wherever
 it
 made
 sense
 at
 the
 time.
 We
 weren’t
 exactly
 homeless;
 we
 just
 preferred
 to
 sleep
 outside
and
avoid
the
lead
anchor
of
a
lease.
For
us,
life
was
divided
into
cities
and
seasons.
New
 Orleans
was
always
good
in
the
winter,
as
was
Tucson.
There
were
dozens
of
other
punks
there
 that
would
take
us
in,
show
us
empty
buildings
to
squat,
invite
us
to
shows
and
parties,
point
us
 where
to
shoplift
and
dumpster‐dive
food.
There
was
real
solidarity
in
those
towns.

 Minneapolis,
on
the
other
hand,
was
a
good
place
to
spend
the
summer.
We’d
meet
up
 there,
run
amok,
steal
college
kids’
bikes
and
ride
them
to
any
of
the
zillion
lakes
in
the
area
and
 skinny
 dip
 in
 freezing
 water.
 Sometimes
 we’d
 even
 camp
 in
 the
 woods
 up
 north.
 Usually
 we
 stayed
in
tight
clusters
in
one
of
the
many
punk
houses
throughout
that
city.

 When
 I
 say
 punk,
 I
 don’t
 mean
 it
 poetically.
 I
 mean
 something
 much,
 much
 more.
 The
 music
 was
 important
 to
 us,
 yes,
 but
 we
 were
 like
 a
 scattered
 and
 wayward
 tribe.
 We
 had
 the
 same
 dreaded
 manes,
 the
 same
 combat
 boots,
 the
 same
 hand‐sewn
 patches
 emblazoned
 with
 band
 logos
 and
 political
 slogans,
 fastened
 like
 quilt
 squares
 to
 our
 backpacks
 and
 off‐black
 clothing,
 gleaming
 with
 a
 patina
 of
 train
 grease
 and
 filth.
 We
 practically
 spoke
 our
 own
 language,
had
our
own
inside
jokes
and
rituals.
Where
others
saw
a
bunch
of
dirty,
angry
kids,
 we
saw
ourselves
as
a
family.
At
that
time
in
my
life
you
could
have
blindfolded
me
and
dropped
 me
 anywhere
 on
 the
 planet
 and
 I’d
 find
 the
 first
 punk
 I
 saw
 and
 make
 instant
 friends.
 Punks
 were
everywhere,
embedded
in
population
like
terrorist
cells.
 My
friend
Seth
liked
to
call
non‐punks
normals.
We
were
abnormal
which
was
fine
by
us.
 We
didn’t
want
to
mingle
with
others
and
it
was
mutual.
In
that
little
three
stoplight,
sugar
beet
 town
 in
 northeast
 Montana,
 that
 place
 full
 of
 farmers
 and
 roughnecks,
 where
 you’d
 see
 more
 white
pickups
than
squirrels,
more
cowboy
hats
than
library
books,
we
didn’t
want
to
fit
in.

 The
few
times
we
staggered
into
a
local
bar,
on
rained
out
days
or
after
work,
all
heads
 turned
toward
us,
indicated
without
words
that
we
didn’t
belong.
Though,
we
didn’t
respond
to
 subtleties.
 We
 needed
 those
 words.
 We
 didn’t
 take
 hints
 because
 we
 felt
 like
 we
 owned
 the
 world.
The
camaraderie
we
shared
made
all
the
meanmugging
we
received
worth
it.
All
of
this
is
 impossible
to
explain
to
an
outsider.
It
was
like
wartime,
and
we
were
the
soldiers.
That’s
why
it
 was
all
the
more
painful
when
I
stabbed
my
friend
Coal
in
the
back.
 
 *
 What
 made
 things
 difficult
 was
 that
 the
 affair
 didn’t
 feel
 like
 betrayal
 when
 it
 happened.
 Or
 that’s
not
right:
it
felt
exactly
like
betrayal
and
a
frenzy
of
lust
and
love
all
at
the
same
time.
I
 sought
Melanie
out.
She
fell
into
my
arms
the
summer
before.
 I
 had
 gone
 to
 Vermont
 for
 a
 DIY
 music
 festival,
 at
 a
 farm
 that
 some
 older
 punks
 had
 pooled
their
money
together
and
bought.
I
had
been
carrying
the
flyer
for
the
festival
in
my
pack
 all
spring.
I
hadn’t
known
for
sure
if
I
was
going
until
that
week,
when
I
spontaneously
decided
 to
 leave
 Pittsburg,
 PA,
 where
 I’d
 been
 resting
 from
 the
 road.
 Melanie
 happened
 to
 be
 at
 the
 festival,
 alone,
 which
 surprised
 me.
 Coal
 had
 gone
 camping.
 He
 needed
 to
 clear
 his
 head,
 she
 said,
 and
 was
 skipping
 out
 on
 everything
 to
 save
 his
 sanity.
 On
 the
 first
 day
 of
 the
 festival
 I
 


75



found
myself
next
to
Melanie
most
of
the
day
and
into
the
night.
At
some
point
she
whispered
 into
my
ear
the
sweetest,
French‐accented
invitation
I’d
ever
heard.

 She
said,
“Will
you
lie
with
me
and
keep
me
company
under
the
moon
and
stars?”
 
 I
said,
“What
about
Coal?
I
can’t
do
that.”
 
 “He
would
want
his
friend
to
keep
me
warm
and
safe.
I
want
to
be
away
from
people,
but
 not
by
myself.”
 
 We
 made
 a
 double
 pallet
 under
 some
 pine
 trees
 away
 from
 everyone.
 After
 hours
 of
 talking,
we
began
to
kiss
and
eventually
made
love.
By
morning,
I
found
every
way
possible
to
 rationalize
what
had
happened.
 
 I
 said,
 “If
 we
 are
 two
 people
 who
 need
 love,
 who
 crave
 it
 and
 must
 have
 it,
 and
 we
 are
 willing
to
give
that
love
to
each
other
for
only
the
right
reasons,
what
could
possibly
be
wrong
 with
 that?”
 Her
 head
 lay
 in
 the
 crook
 of
 my
 arm,
 both
 of
 us
 naked
 under
 two
 stained
 and
 crumpled
sleeping
bags.
She
looked
up
at
me
with
her
beautiful
angular
face
and
large
chocolate
 eyes.
Her
features
were
elfin,
her
body
slim
and
fragile.
 
 “This
has
nothing
to
do
with
Coal,”

she
said.
 
 And
 so
 we
 planned
 to
 meet
 again
 in
 two
 months,
 in
 Canada,
 when
 she
 knew
 Coal
 wouldn’t
be
there
because
of
another
trip
he
was
taking.

 
 The
first
day
of
that
visit
was
great.
We
cooked
spaghetti
and
ate
from
chipped
plates
on
 the
 flat
 roof
 of
 her
 house.
 We
 explored
 the
 streets,
 walked
 arm
 in
 arm
 through
 a
 city
 park.
 I
 pushed
out
most
of
my
worries
and
enjoyed
the
company
of
this
exotic
and
lovely
girl.
But
by
 the
second
day
it
was
different.
She
was
distant,
irritable,
refusing
to
respond
to
my
questions.
I
 knew
she
was
torn.
I
was
too.

 
 As
the
day
went
on
she
seemed
to
relax,
which
helped
me
ease
up.
My
feelings
again
lay
 in
balance.
We
flirted
and
kissed
and
fucked
on
her
filthy
twin
mattress
in
the
corner
of
a
huge
 bedroom
she
shared
with
two
friends
who
happened
to
be
away.
That
day
melted
into
nothing.

 
 The
next
day
I
was
admiring
her
nakedness
and
smoking
an
American
Spirit
when,
out
of
 nowhere,
she
said
that
we
couldn’t
continue
the
affair.

 “Coal
will
be
upset
if
he
learns
about
this,”
she
said.

 
 “I
thought
he
had
nothing
to
do
with
this.”
 
 She
felt
guilty.
She
wouldn’t
be
dissuaded.
I
left
because
she
thought
it
best.
Since
then
 I’d
 run
 into
 Melanie
 and
 Coal
 twice,
 in
 two
 different
 towns,
 and
 I
 tried
 hard
 to
 act
 normal
 around
 them
 and
 somehow
 failed.
 The
 last
 time
 we
 had
 seen
 each
 other
 was
 in
 Northern
 California,
where
we
all
made
a
plan
to
meet
up
in
Kemper
to
work
the
sugar
beets.
Now
that
I
 was
there
I
didn’t
want
to
be
there
but
had
nowhere
else
to
go.
 
 *
 For
days
after
the
drinking
game
I
saw
Coal
only
in
passing
and
always
around
others.
He
was
 openly
friendly,
didn’t
let
on
that
anything
was
wrong,
but
when
people
were
looking
away
he’d
 sneer,
shake
his
head
with
disgust,
mouth
inaudible
insults
in
my
direction.
I
still
didn’t
know
 why
he
hadn’t
destroyed
me
yet.

 76
 



At
 some
 point,
 about
 a
 week
 after
 work
 began,
 I
 noticed
 a
 copper‐colored
 cloud
 belch
 from
the
distant
smoke
stack.
The
wind
shifted
just
right
and
brought
the
chemical
laced,
dirty‐ diaper
smell
our
way.
A
half
hour
later,
the
fat
greasy
foreman
drove
his
white
pickup
beside
us
 and
said,
“Hey
Turdlocks”—that’s
what
he
called
Seth,
infuriating
him—“I
need
two
volunteers
 to
clean
up
a
mess
at
the
drier.
You
and
your
little
friend.”
The
foreman
pointed
at
me.
“Saw
the
 smoke,
right?”
he
said.
We
had
no
idea
what
he
meant.
 “Why
us?”
Seth
said.
The
wind
was
blistering
our
layers
of
Carhart
clothing.
Seth
took
a
 sip
from
his
thermos
that
was
half
full
of
coffee
and
half
whiskey,
then
passed
it
to
me.

 “Because
you
look
bored.
How’s
that?”

 Every
day,
about
once
every
couple
of
hours,
the
foreman
drove
by
our
piler
and
stared
at
 us
like
a
redneck
peeping
Tom.
The
Mexican
guys
never
seemed
to
mind,
or
even
notice.
They
 just
seemed
happy
to
have
jobs.
Seth
and
I
always
joked
that
the
foreman
was
probably
playing
 with
himself
while
he
watched
people
work.
 “Yeah,
 we’ll
 do
 it,”
 I
 said
 before
 Seth
 could
 say
 no.
 Anything
 was
 better
 than
 the
 monotony
of
sorting
beets.
 We
 walked
 across
 the
 barren
 dirt
 wasteland
 of
 a
 lot,
 between
 mountains
 of
 sugar
 beets
 and
 machines
 as
 big
 as
 Brontosauruses,
 to
 the
 factory,
 which
 was
 nearly
 the
 size
 of
 a
 football
 stadium.
When
we
entered
the
cavernous
metal
building,
we
saw
what
the
foreman
was
talking
 about.
An
old
man
in
a
blue
hardhat
pointed
to
the
drier
that
looked
like
a
fifty‐foot‐tall
clothes
 drier
and
said,
“Clean
that
up.”
The
beet
pulp
had
burned
and
encrusted
to
the
walls
of
the
drier.
 They
wanted
us
to
shovel
it
out
and
dispose
of
it.
Coal
and
a
couple
of
locals
were
standing
there
 with
 shovels
 and
 picks.
 Coal
 wore
 a
 sinister
 grin.
 It
 hadn’t
 occurred
 to
 me
 that
 he
 would
 be
 there.

 We
 spread
 across
 the
 huge
 machine.
 I
 took
 the
 far
 end,
 away
 from
 the
 others,
 with
 my
 back
to
the
wall
so
I
could
watch
them
work
as
I
shoveled.
Within
minutes
Coal
trudged
through
 foot‐thick
gunk
towards
me.
I
backed
as
far
away
as
I
could,
into
the
corner
where
there
was
no
 escape.
I
braced
myself
for
a
beating
as
he
kept
slogging
forward
and
sidled
up
next
to
me.
He
 must
have
told
the
foreman
to
ask
us
to
volunteer.
 
 “Hi
Rice,”
he
said.
“Barely
seen
you,
lately.”
 
 “It’s
not
like
you
think,”
I
said.

 
 “How
do
you
know
what
I
think?”
The
stench
in
the
drier
was
overwhelming,
like
burnt
 rotten
potatoes
and
shit
mixed
together.

 
 “I
don’t
know
what
you
think.
Let’s
talk
about
this.”

 
 “What
is
there
to
say?
You
fucked
my
girlfriend
and
haven’t
even
admitted
it.”
He
shook
 his
head
and
inhaled
so
hard
his
hardhat
tilted
to
the
side.
I
tried
to
take
a
step
backward
but
my
 heel
hit
the
wall.

I
looked
past
him
at
the
others
shoveling,
all
of
them
with
their
eyes
on
their
 work.

 
 “All
right,”
I
said.
“I
admit
it.”
A
constant
hum
of
machines
obliterated
my
voice
though
 he
must
have
heard
me
clearly.

 
 “Admit
what?”
 


77



We
went
on
like
this
for
a
while
and
I
couldn’t
get
the
words
out
of
my
mouth.
I
couldn’t
 just
say
that
Melanie
and
I
had
three
sexual
encounters,
and
that
I
had
been
in
love
with
her
for
 a
while
but
I
was
over
it.
Or
at
least
I
wanted
to
be
over
it.
None
of
that
came
out.
Eventually
he
 gave
 up
 on
 a
 confession
 and
 pushed
 me
 down
 into
 the
 muck
 and
 walked
 away.
 We
 spent
 the
 next
 four
 hours
 silently
 shoveling
 the
 walls
 of
 hell
 for
 a
 pittance.
 I
 vibrated
 from
 anxiety
 and
 guilt.
 That
night
at
camp
I
moved
my
stuff
to
a
hidden
spot
under
the
bleachers
at
the
rodeo
 arena,
 across
 the
 fairgrounds
 from
 where
 everyone
 stayed—I
 grew
 up
 near
 a
 rodeo
 so
 it
 somehow
gave
me
comfort.
It
was
getting
colder
every
day,
nights
hovering
in
the
teens.
I
was
 okay
 because
 I
 had
 my
 Vietnam‐era
 down
 sleeping
 bag
 wrapped
 inside
 a
 tarp
 like
 a
 burrito.
 When
I
crawled
into
my
burrito,
if
I
wore
every
piece
of
clothing
I
had,
I
kept
warm.
And
yet
I
 still
couldn’t
sleep.
Insomnia
made
my
skin
so
sensitive
it
stung
like
a
sunburn.
My
mind
felt
as
 though
it
had
imploded
from
the
weight
of
repeated
thoughts.

 My
first
night
under
the
bleachers
was
no
different
than
the
others.
After
hours
of
lying
in
 silence,
 I
 stepped
 out
 of
 my
 sleeping
 bag
 and
 went
 for
 a
 walk
 around
 the
 fair
 grounds,
 arctic
 gusts
pummeling
me
at
every
step.
The
sky
was
black
and
the
moon
was
a
perfect
yellow‐gray
 sphere.
I
took
a
rock
and
broke
out
a
light
that
had
been
bothering
me,
before
I
went
back
to
the
 bleachers.

 When
 I
 got
 there,
 Melanie
 was
 sitting
 on
 the
 bottom
 wooden
 bench
 near
 my
 sleeping
 spot.

 
 “What
are
you
doing
here?”
I
whispered,
and
sat
down
beside
her.

 
 “It
 was
 too
 loud,”
 she
 said.
 “I
 couldn’t
 sleep.”
 She
 moved
 closer
 to
 me
 so
 our
 sides
 touched.

 
 “But
why
are
you
here?”
I
said,
and
scooted
away
and
then
stood
up
again.
“You’re
going
 to
get
me
killed.
I’m
sleeping
over
here.”
 
 “I’m
thinking
of
taking
off,”
she
said.
“I’m
sick
of
him,
sick
of
his
shit.”

 
 I
 sat
 back
 down
 beside
 her.
 She
 began
 to
 talk
 about
 their
 relationship,
 explaining
 that
 Coal
 had
 been
 pushing
 her,
 shaking
 her,
 even
 hitting
 her
 off
 and
 on
 for
 over
 a
 year.
 Coal
 was
 raised
in
Alabama
by
Bible
thumpers
and
couldn’t
handle
his
past.
Violence
was
in
his
blood.
He
 liked
 to
 get
 black‐out
 drunk
 then
 freak
 out
 about
 Jesus
 and
 his
 dead
 mom.
 It
 was
 happening
 more
 than
 ever,
 she
 said,
 and
 she
 was
 losing
 patience.
 
 At
 first
 Melanie
 tried
 to
 comfort
 him
 during
 his
 breakdowns,
 but
 gave
 up
 and
 tried
 to
 steer
 clear
 of
 him
 altogether
 when
 he
 was
 in
 one
 of
 his
 moods.
 But
 every
 time
 she
 distanced
 herself,
 he
 clung
 to
 her
 all
 the
 more.
 Nothing
 ever
lasted.
He’d
switch
again,
and
without
warning,
would
get
angry
and
smack
her
around
or
 push
her
down
to
the
ground.

 The
night
we
played
our
drinking
game,
afterwards,
he
held
her
down
with
his
hand
over
 her
 mouth
 and
 ground
 his
 elbow
 into
 her
 chest.
 Nobody
 knew
 anything
 about
 any
 of
 this,
 including
me.

 Sitting
on
the
bench
that
night
we
made
a
plan
to
skip
our
last
week
of
work
and
hop
a
 train
 to
 the
 west
 coast.
 We’d
 call
 the
 sugar
 company
 later
 and
 get
 our
 checks
 mailed
 to
 us.
 I
 78
 



wanted
 her
 more
 than
 ever
 right
 then,
 more
 than
 the
 summer
 before.
 We
 kissed
 for
 a
 while,
 then
 she
 pulled
 away
 and
 went
 over
 the
 plan
 again:
 I
 was
 to
 continue
 sleeping
 under
 the
 bleachers
for
three
more
nights
while
she’d
act
like
everything
was
fine.
We’d
work
our
twelve‐ hour
slave
shift,
and
on
the
fourth
night,
we’d
walk
to
the
highway
before
dawn
and
hitch
out
by
 daybreak.
During
those
four
days
we’d
stock
up
on
food
and
keep
our
mouths
shut.

 
 The
next
few
days
were
the
worst.
Days
were
longer
than
usual,
the
work
more
tedious.
 My
friends
hounded
me
about
where
I
slept
and
why
I
wasn’t
around.
I
explained
that
drunken
 noise
was
getting
to
me,
which
was
mostly
true.
During
a
break
the
next
day,
Seth
must
have
felt
 bothered
 by
 my
 weak
 responses
 to
 his
 usual
 complaints
 about
 the
 job
 and
 the
 foreman
 and
 asked
me
what
was
wrong.
 “I’m
just
having
a
lot
of
doubts,”
I
said.
I
was
thinking
of
Melanie,
of
course,
but
not
only
 her.
I
had
been
wondering
if
I
would
still
be
sleeping
in
a
tarp
when
I
was
Coal’s
age,
if
I’d
live
off
 dumpstered
bagels
and
stolen
summer
sausage.
I
was
wondering
about
the
future
while
I
stood
 next
to
my
friend
who
had
the
near
illegible
words
NO
FUTURE
tattooed
across
his
neck.
But
I
 said
nothing
about
any
of
this.

 
“Is
this
about
Melanie?”
he
said.
His
face
looked
sober
in
a
way
that
I
almost
never
saw
 then
 quickly
 changed
 into
 a
 smirk
 as
 though
 he
 knew
 something
 I
 didn’t.
 He
 offered
 me
 his
 thermos
and
I
shook
my
head
no.
 “What
do
you
mean?”

 “I
was
out
and
about
the
other
night
and
saw
you
talking
with
her
at
the
rodeo
place,”
he
 said.
“Seemed
serious.”

 “It
is
fucking
serious,”
I
said.
“Coal’s
been
hitting
her.”

 “Man,
you
believe
that?
He
told
me
she
stabbed
him
one
time
for
making
a
joke
about
her
 dog.”
 “I’m
 thinking
 of
 quitting
 and
 getting
 out
 of
 here,”
 I
 said.
 “Everything
 is
 fucked
 up.
 Our
 friends
are
fucked
up.
This
life
is
fucked
up.”

 “Dude,
take
me
with
you
please,”
he
said.
“If
I
have
to
hear
the
word
Turdlocks
one
more
 time
I’m
burying
that
fucker
under
his
own
product.”
 Nothing
 was
 ever
 serious
 with
 Seth.
 Seriousness
 was
 for
 another
 time,
 another
 age,
 for
 other
people.

 “Fuck
it,”
I
said.
“Never
mind.”
 I
didn’t
 know
who
was
right
about
Melanie,
but
I
didn’t
 want
to
hear
his
version.
I
couldn’t
make
him
understand
me
anyway
with
that
much
whiskey
 running
through
his
veins,
and
I
was
tired
of
trying.

 “I’m
sticking
it
out,”
I
said.

 “Where
else
can
we
make
four
grand
in
a
month,
right?”

 “We’re
the
only
ones
dumb
enough
and
desperate
enough
to
do
it,”
I
said.
 
 *
 The
night
of
our
escape
finally
came
and
I
waited
in
vain
by
the
fence
post
for
hours.
Melanie
 never
showed.
I
was
a
mess,
didn’t
know
what
to
do
with
myself.

 


79



I
was
sick
with
anticipation,
with
confusion,
self‐doubt.
I
felt
in
those
few
hours
that
I
really
did
 love
her,
that
I
needed
to
protect
her.
But
how?
I
couldn’t
imagine
what
had
changed
her
mind,
 why
she
had
gone
back
with
a
man
like
Coal,
a
man
who
proudly
named
himself
after
a
coal
car
 he
fell
off
one
time
while
wasted.

 My
 thoughts
 crept
 back
 to
 when
 Melanie
 and
 I
 were
 first
 alone
 together,
 the
 summer
 before.
 The
 secrecy
 felt
 wrong
 but
 everything
 else
 felt
 like
 we
 were
 supposed
 to
 be
 there
 together,
like
we
were
sanctioned
by
something
neither
of
us
understood.
She
was
pushing
me
 away
again
and
I
had
no
idea
why.


 The
next
day
I
didn’t
see
her
at
all,
which
wasn’t
unusual,
but
I
never
managed
to
catch
 sight
of
her
again
until
the
last
day
of
work.

 Every
 day
 fewer
 and
 fewer
 beet
 trucks
 were
 coming
 in
 off
 the
 farm.
 We
 all
 knew
 production
 was
 dwindling
 to
 a
 stop,
 but
 no
 one,
 not
 even
 the
 boss,
 knew
 when
 work
 would
 officially
end.
I
kept
to
myself
more
than
I
had
in
years.
I
felt
like
an
exile,
a
leper,
afraid
to
tell
 others
of
his
condition.
I
continued
to
ward
off
questions
from
my
friends,
sticking
to
my
story
 of
curing
my
insomnia.
I
went
to
camp
one
night
when
I
noticed
Coal
and
Melanie
weren’t
there.
 But
my
heart
wasn’t
in
it
and
I
left
early.
 On
the
last
workday
the
shift
ended
after
just
eight
hours.

We
gathered
at
one
of
the
beet
 pilers.
 Everyone
 was
 there.
 I
 tried
 to
 meet
 eyes
 with
 Melanie
 without
 Coal
 seeing
 me.
 The
 foreman
gave
us
a
pep
talk,
praised
us,
told
us
how
happy
he’d
be
to
see
us
next
year.
But
two
 years
of
beets
was
enough
for
me.
I
thought
the
next
year
I’d
try
apples,
or
maybe
cherries.

 
 When
the
foreman
went
away
everybody
was
laughing
and
joking
and
planning
a
feast.
A
 couple
 of
 guys
 were
 taking
 orders
 for
 the
 store.
 With
 our
 pay
 advances,
 there
 was
 plenty
 of
 money
for
all
the
booze
and
food
we
could
handle.
I
walked
alongside
the
group
to
the
road
that
 led
to
camp.
I
decided
I
would
eat
and
drink
with
them
just
like
before.
If
I’d
made
it
this
long,
 there
was
no
reason
to
skip
the
final
party.
 As
 the
 night
 wore
 on,
 and
 we
 pounded
 drinks
 and
 stuffed
 our
 faces
 with
 hotlinks
 and
 fire‐ scorched
 chicken
 for
 the
 meat‐eaters,
 and
 grilled
 tofu
 for
 the
 vegans,
 Coal
 looked
 at
 me
 from
 across
the
fire,
his
look
more
proud
than
menacing.
Melanie
sat
next
to
him,
keeping
one
arm
 around
 his
 neck
 the
 whole
 night.
 Even
 when
 she
 drank
 from
 the
 wine
 bag
 she
 kept
 her
 hand
 there,
snugly
planted
on
his
neck
as
though
he
were
a
life
preserver.
Our
eyes
never
met
once.

 
 The
 rest
 of
 the
 gang
 was
 ecstatic.
 People
 were
 wrestling,
 smoking
 weed,
 shotgunning
 beers.
Everyone
chanted
“Sugar
Punks,
Sugar
Punks,”
over
and
over.
A
couple
of
guys
had
their
 boots
 off
 and
 their
 feet
 next
 to
 the
 fire,
 and
 gave
 themselves
 stick‐and‐poke
 tattoos
 of
 those
 ridiculous
 words
 on
 their
 toes,
 a
 letter
 for
 each
 one.
 The
 revelry
 lasted
 way
 into
 the
 freezing
 night
and
eventually
they
dropped
where
they
sat,
one
by
one.
Coal
and
Melanie
had
sneaked
off
 early
back
to
their
tent.
Seth
lay
half
across
a
young
face‐tattooed
kid
from
Florida.
I
stood
up
 and
 weaved
 over
 to
 my
 spot
 under
 the
 bleachers.
 From
 my
 hidden
 place,
 I
 looked
 at
 the
 stars
 between
two
benches.
It
was
time
to
roll
up
my
bag
and
tarp
and
hit
the
road
walking.
I
wasn’t
 sure
when,
or
if,
I’d
see
any
of
them
again.
I
figured
I’d
at
least
catch
up
with
Seth
somewhere
 down
the
road.

 80
 



I
walked
in
the
light
of
the
waning
moon
and
slept
in
the
bar
ditch
along
the
highway.
In
 the
 morning
 I
 hitchhiked
 to
 Minot,
 North
 Dakota.
 In
 Minot
 I
 hoofed
 it
 to
 the
 train
 yard
 and
 accidentally
slept
through
the
first
westbound
train.
By
morning
I
couldn’t
bring
myself
to
jump
 on
the
next
one,
and
after
watching
several
local
strings
screech
through
the
yard
I
heard
some
 noise
coming
from
above,
looked
up
in
the
wide
and
watery
Northern
sky
at
an
asymmetrical
V
 of
 southbound
 flying
 geese.
 I
 wondered
 where
 they’d
 end
 up
 and
 from
 where
 they’d
 come.
 I
 rolled
a
cigarette,
lit
it,
and
watched
the
geese
disappear.
 


Parts
of
this
story
appeared
previously
in
MASK
Magazine
and
Frontier
Mosaic,
 the
student
literary
magazine
at
Oklahoma
State
University.


81



Kate

 Daloz



 82
 



“Near
Death:

 On
‘Bodies:
 The
Exhibition’”



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


83



84
 



When
 you
 walk
 into
 “Bodies:
 the
 Exhibition,”
 the
 first
 object
 to
 confront
 you
 is
 a
 skeleton.
 Suspended
 against
 a
 plain
 backdrop,
 it
 instantly
 brings
 to
 mind
 other
 skeletons
 in
 other
 contexts—wheeling
in
for
a
cameo
appearance
in
seventh‐grade
biology;
wearing
sombreros
and
 dancing
 in
 celebration
 of
 the
 Mexican
 “Dia
 de
 los
 Muertos;”
 cobwebby
 and
 toppling
 in
 any
 number
of
horror
movies;
or
reduced
to
skulls
as
memento
mori
in
Renaissance
paintings.
In
its
 limp,
jaunty
way,
the
skeleton
is
reassuring.
Nothing
new
here,
it
seems
to
say.

 Nearby
 stands
 what
 is
 clearly
 intended
 to
 represent
 the
 skeleton’s
 modern
 cousin—the
 body
of
a
man,
stripped
down
to
a
combination
of
bone
and
muscle.
The
skull
retains
its
scalp,
 ears,
and
nose.
Lidless
eyes
bulge
above
a
toothy
grin.
One
arm
extends
in
a
bony
thumbs‐up.
 Through
 a
 small
 door
 lies
 the
 rest
 of
 the
 exhibition—22
 real
 human
 bodies,
 preserved
 and
 dissected
to
reveal
muscles
organs
and
veins
and
posed
into
“lifelike”
shapes.
The
preservation
 process,
called
“plastination,”
replaces
the
bodies’
water
with
synthetic
polymer
and
allows
them
 to
retain
their
color
and
flexibility.
The
word
itself
is
well‐chosen—the
bodies
look
like
plastic,
 but
 not
quite.
 The
figure
shooting
the
basketball,
the
sole
full‐body
 female
(posed
on
her
toes
 like
a
Barbie
doll),
even
the
figures
split
down
the
middle
to
reveal
their
organs—all
are
clean‐ looking,
calm
and
sterile.

 On
 a
 recent
 Saturday
 afternoon,
 despite
 crowds
 dotted
 with
 children,
 the
 exhibition’s
 carpeted,
low‐ceilinged
rooms
were
quiet.
People
leaned
into
each
other
to
point
out
individual
 features
 of
 the
 free‐standing
 figures.
 If
 anyone
 was
 nauseated
 or
 upset,
 they
 didn’t
 show
 it.
 A
 burly
man
pointed
to
a
specimen’s
muscly
calf.
“I
think
that’s
the
one
I
pulled,”
he
told
his
wife.
 Nearby,
a
woman
nodded
towards
a
body
arranged
like
a
runner,
his
muscles
pulled
back
from
 the
bone
so
they
quivered
like
feathers
from
his
forearms
and
calves.
“That,
I
found
completely
 gruesome,
 I
 have
 to
 say,”
 she
 said
 to
 her
 companion.
 Some
 teenage
 girls
 stood
 in
 front
 of
 a
 spotlit
glass
case
in
which
an
arterial
system
floated
like
a
piece
of
scarlet
seaweed.
“That
is
some
 crazy
shit,”
one
murmured.

 When
asked,
patrons
said
that
curiosity
more
than
anything
else
had
brought
them
in
the
 door.
But
perhaps
a
better
question
might
be,
what
kept
them
there?
How
is
it
that
hundreds
of
 people
(and
thousands
more
at
similar
exhibits
elsewhere)
could
spend
an
afternoon,
rapt
and
 respectful,
 their
 children
 in
 hand,
 gazing
 in
 unsullied
 fascination
 at
 what
 in
 any
 other
 context
 would
 be
 cadavers,
 posed
 corpses
 and
 horrifically
 flayed
 and
 disembodied
 limbs
 and
 organs?
 What
had
been
done
to
make
this
possible?
 
Any
answer
must
start
with
Gunther
von
Hagens,
the
German
anatomist
and
inventor
of
 plastination.
Although
“Bodies:
the
Exhibition”
is
careful
to
claim
no
affiliation
with
von
Hagens
 


85



(it
is
run
by
an
American
company,
Premier
Exhibition,
Inc,
which
also
produces
traveling
shows
 of
the
Titanic),
this
exhibition
is
modeled—down
to
the
welcoming
skeleton—on
von
Hagens’s
 “Body
 Worlds”
 exhibitions
 which
 have
 toured
 Europe
 since
 the
 late
 1990’s.
 Controversy
 has
 swirled
around
von
Hagens
from
the
start,
but
he
doesn’t
seem
to
mind.
A
2002
New
York
Times
 article
quotes
him
as
saying,
“Everything
in
with
the
body
is
fixed
by
culture.
If
showing
anatomy
 is
 not
 done
 for
 some
 time,
 it
 becomes
 taboo
 to
 see
 it.
 I’m
 accused
 of
 being
 Frankenstein
 or
 Mengele,
 but
 to
 readjust
 our
 picture
 of
 the
 human
 body,
 we
 need
 controversy.
 I’m
 the
 centerpiece,
the
target
of
the
aggression
in
this.”1

 Perhaps
 in
 reaction
 to
 his
 own
 experience
 with
 totalitarianism
 (von
 Hagens
 lived
 in
 Communist
 West
 Germany
 for
 twenty‐five
 years),
 his
 exhibition
 philosophy
 takes
 on
 an
 anti‐ authoritarian
 tone.
 Alan
 Burdick,
 a
 senior
 editor
 at
 Discover,
 interviewed
 von
 Hagens
 in
 2004.
 “He’s
an
interesting
guy,”
Burdick
said
recently.
“He’s
reacting
to
the
sensibility
that
information
 about
 the
 body
 has
 been
 held
 tightly
 by
 scientists,
 that
 they
 have
 a
 lock
 on
 knowledge
 that
 is
 inaccessible
 to
 us.”
 In
 putting
 together
 public
 exhibitions,
 Burdick
 says,
 “He
 feels
 like
 he’s
 exposing
 state
 secrets.”
 In
 an
 open
 letter
 published
 by
 The
 Times
 in
 2005,
 von
 Hagens
 wrote,
 “People
 relate
 better
 to
 their
 bodies
 after
 seeing
 my
 work.
 I’m
 very
 happy
 if
 they
 come
 in
 for
 sensational
reasons.
It
draws
people
in
and
transforms
them.”2


 If
von
Hagens’s
goal
is
for
people
to
learn
about
their
bodies,
he
has
chosen
a
challenging
 medium
 for
 the
 lesson.
 In
 Death,
 Dissection
 and
 the
 Destitute,
 Ruth
 Richardson
 writes,
 “Dissection
requires
in
its
practitioners
the
effective
suspension
or
suppression
of
many
normal
 physical
 and
 emotional
 responses
 to
 the
 willful
 mutilation
 of
 the
 body
 of
 another
 human
 being.” 3 
Doctors
 or
 medical
 students
 actually
 practicing
 dissection,
 might
 suspend
 their
 emotional
 responses
 by
 covering
 the
 cadaver’s
 face
 and
 hands,
 or
 (in
 less
 enlightened
 times)
 making
it
the
source
of
macabre
practical
jokes.
For
a
paying
audience
only
observing
dissected
 humans,
the
ability
to
move
past
death
and
into
an
open
state
of
learning
must
happen
in
the
 same
instant.
How
does
von
Hagens,
or
anyone
else,
manage
to
achieve
this?
 The
 answer
 is
 aesthetic.
 He,
 and
 anyone
 who
 wants
 to
 expose
 the
 living
 to
 the
 dead
 without
repulsing
them,
must
strike
a
very
careful
balance
between
presenting
the
bodies
as
too
 human
on
one
hand
and
not
human
enough
on
the
other.
If
the
body
is
too
human—if
it
has
a
 name
for
example—it
becomes
an
individual
(and
the
dissection
appears
as
the
horrific
means
of
 that
 individual’s
 death).
 If
 it
 is
 too
 far
 away
 from
 human,
 it
 risks
 being
 seen
 as
 a
 monster.
 To
 really
 learn
 from
 it,
 the
 viewer
 must
 be
 able
 to
 recognize,
 not
 another
 person
 exactly,
 but
 something
like
himself
in
the
specimen.
 After
the
unnatural,
“doll‐like”
poses
of
his
early
plastinates
horrified
viewers
at
his
first
 exhibition,
 von
 Hagens
 looked
 to
 the
 anatomist‐showmen
 of
 history
 for
 examples.
 One
 likely
 source
 of
 inspiration
 was
 the
 Florentine
 museum
 La
 Specola
 with
 its
 collection
 of
 the
 world’s
 most
detailed
and
artistically
rendered
wax
anatomical
models.
Created
over
several
decades
in
 























































 1


Ore,
Mary;
New
York
Times,
“Anatomy
as
Art,
Unsettling
but
Drawing
Crowds,”
July
9,
2002
 
von
Hagens,
The
Times
(London),
“My
Work
Transforms
People’s
Attitudes
to
their
Bodies,”
June
4,
2005
 3 
in:
Roach,
Mary;
Stiff:
The
Curious
Lives
of
Human
Cadavers,
p.
30 2

86
 



the
late
eighteenth
century,
the
models
are
a
nearly
complete
representation
of
the
mechanics
of
 the
human
body
as
it
was
understood
at
that
time.
La
Specola’s
collection
looks
startlingly
like
 its
 modern
 descendants:
 bodies
 in
 natural
 poses
 with
 their
 torsos
 opened
 to
 reveal
 tightly
 packed
 organs;
 limbs
 and
 faces
 with
 the
 skin
 stripped
 away
 to
 reveal
 overlapping
 bands
 of
 muscle
and
tendon
in
maroon
and
ivory;
individual
hearts,
livers
and
spleens
recreated
to
scale
 so
that
they
might
be
picked
up
and
studied.
 While
 any
 depiction
 of
 the
 human
 body
 in
 a
 state
 that
 would
 normally
 indicate
 death
 must
always
be
somewhat
shocking,
it’s
very
easy
to
look
at
these
antique
Italian
waxworks
as
 art.
 In
 one
 example,
 a
 model
 of
 a
 man’s
 head
 rests
 on
 its
 left
 cheek.
 His
 right
 eye
 has
 been
 constructed
 to
 flip
 open
 and
 show
 its
 interior,
 but
 his
 other
 eye
 is
 gently
 closed.
 He
 has
 long
 lashes,
a
five
o’clock
shadow,
full
lips
and
a
handsome
nose.
What
looks
like
an
Italian
peasant’s
 hat
resting
just
above
his
eyebrows
on
closer
inspection
turns
out
to
be
his
brain.
In
a
full‐body
 model,
 a
 nude
 woman
 reclines
 on
 a
 table,
 looking
 gently
 pained.
 Her
 thigh‐length
 hair
 twines
 beneath
 her,
 and
 she
 holds
 a
 small
 braid
 of
 it
 carelessly
 in
 one
 limpid
 hand.
 A
 door
 in
 her
 abdomen
swings
open
to
reveal
her
organs,
removable
for
study.


 The
faces
are
not
of
individuals,
but
are
the
work
of
the
artist’s
imagination.
Because
they
 had
no
way
of
preserving
the
cadavers
they
were
using
as
guides,
as
many
as
200
corpses
might
 be
used
to
make
a
single
waxwork.
But
by
giving
their
models
faces,
beautiful
ones,
La
Specola
 artisans
 struck
 the
 perfect
 balance:
 not
 so
 human
 as
 to
 be
 individual,
 but
 human
 enough
 to
 avoid
the
horrific.
 Their
 audience,
 after
 all,
 was
 in
 large
 part
 the
 public.
 The
 museum
 sold
 tickets
 in
 two
 different
price
ranges
to
admit
entry.
A
historical
guide
to
the
museum
reminds
us,
“A
dissection
 was
regarded
and
experienced
as
a
special
public
occasion
which
one
not
only
attended
but
paid
 to
attend.
The
promoters
for
their
part
likewise
strove
to
satisfy
the
curiosity
and
sensationalism
 of
the
visitor,
for
which
spectacular
displays
were
particularly
suitable.”4
Von
Hagens,
as
he
well
 knows,
is
not
such
an
innovator
after
all.

 To
 humanize
 his
 figures,
 he
 has
 chosen
 entertainment
 over
 art
 as
 his
 aesthetic.
 The
 skinless
 faces
 of
 many
 of
 his
 plastinates
 retain
 their
 ears,
 lips,
 eyebrows,
 eyelashes,
 and
 even
 noses
even
when
other
similar
skin
and
cartelage
has
been
removed.
In
each
case,
the
expression
 has
been
carefully
constructed
so
that
a
football
player
with
a
ball
tucked
under
his
arm
knits
his
 brow
 in
 concentration
 and
 a
 conductor
 raises
 his
 eyebrows
 in
 readiness
 along
 with
 his
 baton.
 They
are
not
exactly
beautiful,
but
they
are
not
monsters
either.
In
other
words,
they
meet
an
 acceptable
balance.

 But
 while
 the
 Italian
 models
 were
 only
 copies
 of
 human
 bodies,
 von
 Hagens
 proudly
 advertises
the
fact
that
the
bodies
he
displays
were
once
walking,
talking,
thinking,
living
people.
 He
 has
 given
 himself
 a
 challenge
 to
 helping
 his
 viewers
 overcome
 their
 abhorrence
 to
 seeing
 dead
bodies
that
the
La
Specola
artisans
would
never
face.
 























































 4


Düring,
Monika,
“The
Anatomy
of
the
Human
Body:
A
unique
collection
of
the
late
18th
century,”
p.
103;
 in:
The
Wax
Figure
Collection
in
‘La
Specola’
in
Florence,
Poggesi,
Marta,
ed.


87



In
 print,
 von
 Hagens
 defines
 his
 “plastinates”
 carefully.
 “It
 is
 not
 a
 corpse
 in
 the
 legal
 sense,”
 he
 wrote
 in
 his
 Times
 letter.
 “A
 corpse
 is
 a
 body
 destined
 for
 burial
 and
 not
 display,
 a
 body
whose
identity
is
known,
an
object
of
mourning
and
individual
emotions,
not
an
object
of
 education
and
enlightenment.”
In
Stiff:
The
Curious
Lives
of
Human
Cadavers,
Mary
Roach
puts
 it
more
elegantly:
“One’s
own
dead
are
more
than
cadavers,
they
are
place
holders
for
the
living.
 They
 are
 a
 focus,
 a
 receptacle,
 for
 emotions
 that
 no
 longer
 have
 one.
 The
 dead
 of
 science
 are
 always
 strangers.”
 The
 balance
 necessary
 to
 learn
 from
 the
 dead
 is
 more
 than
 aesthetic—it
 is
 personal
too.

 Too
much
information,
even
as
much
as
a
name,
would
turn
a
specimen
uncomfortably
 into
 an
 individual.
 Viewers
 don’t
 want
 to
 know
 exactly
 who
 the
 bodies
 were
 when
 they
 were
 alive,
but
it’s
impossible
not
to
think
about
them
as
once
living.
Knowing
nothing
makes
people
 uneasy.
 “The
 main
 question
 I
 get
 asked
 is,
 ‘Where
 do
 the
 bodies
 come
 from?’”
 says
 Lindsay
 McNaughton,
 a
 volunteer
 educator
 for
 the
 New
 York
 Bodies
 exhibit.
 “[The
 exhibit
 organizers]
 legally
can’t
give
out
specifics
to
the
general
public,”
she
explains.
“People
don’t
have
concrete
 evidence,
so
they
have
a
lot
of
questions,”

 And
rightly
so—where
do
the
bodies
come
from?
Von
Hagens
has
spent
years
deflecting
 controversy
 about
 the
 origins
 of
 the
 bodies
 he
 uses
 for
 his
 exhibitions.
 Today
 he
 has
 a
 very
 careful
accounting
system
and
a
long
list
of
willing
donors,
but
in
2004,
he
was
forced
to
admit
 that
he
could
not
guarantee
that
some
of
the
specimens
he
had
obtained
from
Dalian
Medical
 University
 in
 China
 were
 not
 executed
 prisoners.
 Two
 cadavers
 had
 been
 returned
 after
 bullet
 holes
were
found
in
the
back
of
the
head.

 
Von
 Hagens
 has
 since
 broken
 ties
 with
 Dalian
 Medical
 University—and
 Premier
 Exhibitions
 picked
 up
 almost
 exactly
 where
 he
 left
 off.
 All
 of
 the
 specimens
 in
 “Bodies:
 the
 Exhibition”
 are
 Chinese,
 and
 all
 came
 from
 Dalian
 University
 under
 the
 oversight
 of
 Dr.
 Sui
 Hongjin,
 von
 Hagens’s
 former
 partner.
 Premier’s
 medical
 advisor,
 Roy
 Glover,
 has
 repeatedly
 maintained
 that
 the
 bodies
 were
 “legally
 obtained”
 from
 China,
 but
 human
 rights
 groups
 say
 that
 fact
 in
 no
 way
 rules
 out
 the
 probability
 that
 some
 of
 the
 bodies
 in
 “Bodies”
 are
 executed
 prisoners,
 including
 political
 prisoners.
 For
 now,
 Premier
 has
 avoided
 an
 outright
 scandal,
 but
 the
questions
persist.
 Questions
 about
 the
 origins
 of
 bodies
 will
 persist
 as
 long
 as
 real‐body
 anatomy
 exhibitions
 continue.
 If
 von
 Hagens
 can
 claim
 that
 all
 of
 his
 specimens
 donated
 themselves
 to
 his
 project,
 that
 as
 living
 people
 they
 chose
 to
 do
 this
 with
 themselves,
 he
 may
 be
 able
 to
 preserve
the
careful
balance
that
makes
his
exhibit
a
potentially
powerful
learning
tool.
But
for
 exhibitors
like
Premier
who
can’t
honestly
report
that
their
specimens
have
made
a
choice
about
 being
used
for
public
education
and
private
profit,
the
balance
between
acceptable
and
morally
 reprehensible
will
always
remain
precarious.

 Walking
around
the
New
York
exhibit
believing
that
the
bodies
in
fact
did
not
choose
to
 be
there
was
a
perfect
example
of
what
happens
when
the
balance
is
off.
The
aesthetic
choices
 that
are
intended
to
help
middle
America
recognize
itself—for
example,
the
football,
basketball
 and
 baseball
 poses
 or
 the
 occasional
 dyed‐blonde
 eyebrows
 and
 blue
 glass
 eyes—become,
 not
 88
 



ways
to
humanize
the
bodies
for
their
audience,
but
repellent
jokes
on
the
Chinese
people
they
 used
 to
 be.
 The
 room
 became
 what
 it
 strove
 so
 hard
 to
 avoid:
 not
 a
 place
 of
 learning,
 but
 a
 gathering
of
the
macabre.
Where
they
wanted
you
to
think
about
life,
all
you
could
think
about
 was
death.
 
 
 Additional
sources:
 Burdick,
Alan,
Discover
Magazine,
“Gross
Anatomy,”
March
2004
 Hultkrans,
Andrew,
ArtForum,
“Bones
of
Contention,”
January
6,
2006
 Jacobs,
Andrew,
New
York
Times,
“Cadaver
Exhibition
Raises
Questions
Beyond
Taste,”

 November
18,
2005
 Poggesi,
Marta,
ed.;
The
Wax
Figure
Collection
in
‘La
Specola’
in
Florence
 Roach,
John,
National
Geographic,
“Cadaver
Exhibition
Draws
Crowds,
Controversy
in

 Florida,”
August
25,
2005
 


89



90
 



Images



 
 
 



 


91



“Emily”
 Sarah
Nguyen
 Oils
on
Canvas
 24”
x
18”



 92
 



 



“Great‐Grandma”
 Sarah
Nguyen
 Oils
on
Canvas
 34”x
24”


93



94
 



 “Urizen”
 Sarah
Nguyen
 Oils
on
Paper
 54”x
33”



“Jerusalem”
 Sarah
Nguyen
 Oils
on
Paper
 54”x
33”



 


95



96
 



 
 
 
 
 
 



 “Woman
Waiting”
 Sarah
Nguyen
 Oils
on
Canvas
 12”x
12”



97



98
 



Reviews
&
 Interviews



 


99



‘Her
One
Nightly
Torturer’:
An
Interview
with
LeAnne
Howe


By George McCormick 
 The
 writer
 LeAnne
 Howe
 recently
 visited
 Cameron
 University
 where,
 during
 the
 afternoon,
 she
 gave
 a
 fascinating
 lecture
 on
 the
 parallels
 between
 cinematography
 and
 fiction
 writing,
 and
 at
 night
 delivered
 a
 gripping
 reading
 from
 her
 newest
 work
 Savage
 Conversations.
 An
 enrolled
 member
 of
 the
 Choctaw
 Nation,
 Howe’s
 books
 include
 the
 novels
 Shell
 Shaker
 (2001)
 and
 Miko
 Kings
(2007),
the
poetry
collection
Evidence
of
Red
(2005),
and
the
memoir
Choctalking
on
Other
 Realities
(2013).
She
was
also
co‐editor
for
the
anthology
Seeing
Red—Hollywood’s
Pixeled
Skins:
 American
Indians
and
Film
(2013).
 While
 I
 had
 originally
 planned
 a
 more
 substantial
 interview,
 time
and
circumstances
truncated
my
efforts.
That
being
said,
I
was
excited
at
the
chance
to
talk
 to
LeAnne
about
her
innovative
new
work.




 
 [McCormick]:
I
have
heard
you
read
twice
now
from
the
Mary
Todd
Lincoln
piece
(I
believe
it
 has
a
working
title
but
for
the
life
of
me
I
can’t
remember
it;
I
apologize)—last
year
in
Ada
at
the
 Scissortail
Creative
Writing
Festival,
and
earlier
this
month
here
on
campus
at
Cameron—and
I
 am
 absolutely
 taken
 by
 its
 ferocity.
 Mary
 Todd
 Lincoln
 seems
 to
 speak
 inside
 of
 some
 kind
 of
 fever‐dream.
Is
this
your
invention
or
did
you
find
such
panic
and
hysteria
in
your
research?
 
 [Howe]:

Mary
Todd
Lincoln’s
character
is
drawn
from
research.

Most
everything
she
says,
such
 as
having
her
cheekbones
cut
out,
her
hair
scalped,
her
eyelids’
slit
and
wired
open
by
an
Indian,
 and
 the
 “wandering
 Jew”
 stealing
 her
 pocketbook
 comment
 came
 out
 of
 her
 insanity
 file,
 and
 letters.

I
do
not
think
she
feels
any
guilt
from
Lincoln’s
handling
of
the
Dakota
incident,
either.

 She
and
her
husband
suffer
from
colonizing
perspectives.


 
 [McCormick]:
 After
 the
reading
 I
brought
up
Sarah
Winchester
 to
you—the
widow
of
William
 Wirt
 Winchester,
 inventor
 of
 the
 Winchester
 Repeating
 Rifle,
 and
 who
 was
 believed
 to
 be
 haunted
 by
 the
 spirits
 of
 all
 those
 who
 had
 been
 killed
 by
 the
 rifle—but
 you
 thought
 the
 comparison
to
Mary
Todd
Lincoln
wasn’t
quite
right.


 
 [Howe]:
 I
 just
 think
 that
 Mary
 Todd
 Lincoln
 created
 one
 American
 Indian
 as
 her
 one
 nightly
 torturer.

This
is
tied,
not
only
to
her
prejudices,
but
Lincoln’s
prejudices
as
well.

Like
a
lover,
 the
Indian
comes
to
her
at
night
and
is
intimate
with
her
body
and
then
he
cuts
her
up.

MTL
 doesn’t
try
to
thwart
her
torturer;
rather
she
seems
to
enjoy
it.

She’s
a
great
narcissist.
This
is
 different
from
Sarah
Winchester’s
insanity
as
she
was
trying
to
stop
her
hauntings
by
building
 stairs
to
nowhere.

 
 [McCormick]:
That
the
spirits
that
haunt
Lincoln
are
also,
at
times,
spirits
she’s
seducing.



 
 100




[Howe]:
Yes,
if
we
believe
Mary’s
story
about
the
Indian,
then
it’s
easier
to
see
she
is
the
seducer.

 I
chose
to
believe
her.


 
 [McCormick]:
 You
 have
 written
 two
 acclaimed
 novels,
 Shell
 Shaker
 and
 Miko
 Kings,
 a
 prize‐ winning
memoir
in
Choctalking
on
Other
Realities,
and
yet
this
new
piece
is
a
long
poem.
Now,
I
 realize
 you’ve
 written
 poetry
 before,
 but
 is
 there
 something
 particular
 about
 your
 new
 subject
 matter
that
seemed
to
demand
verse
over
prose?
 
 [Howe]:
 The
 play,
 Savage
 Conversations,
 is
 essentially
 a
 series
 of
 monologues
 directed
 at
 a
 subject,
 the
 Dakota
 hangings.
 
 With
 Mary
 Todd
 Lincoln’s
 character
 there’s
 very
 little
 room
 to
 breathe
 and
 that
 is
 more
 easily
 accomplished
 in
 a
 poetic
 frame.
 
 She’s
 a
 mentally
 ill
 white
 woman,
but
she
has
premonitions
of
a
future
America
in
which
black
men
are
shot
casually
as
 the
fulfillment
of
the
Confederacy’s
dream.

(I’m
 trying
 to
 remind
 people
 that
 Lincoln
 said
 that
 he'd
keep
the
union
whole
and
free
and
no
slave
if
he
was
able.)

 
 [McCormick]:
 You
 spoke
 during
 your
 reading
 about
 how
 sections
 of
 the
 new
 work
 are
 being
 currently
 adapted
 for
 stage.
 How
 is
 that
 going?
 Has
 it
 helped
 the
 creative
 process
 in
 terms
 of
 going
forward
with
the
poem?
 


 [Howe]:
Yes.

The
actors
and
director
came
from
the
UGA
theater
department.
They
helped
in
 staging
 a
 reading
 of
 the
 play
 Savage
 Conversations
 on
 November
 18,
 2015.
 
 It
 went
 well
 and
 clarified
in
my
mind
where
the
weaknesses
are
as
well
as
strengths.


 
 [McCormick]:
 My
 creative
 writing
 students
 who
 are
 from
 Oklahoma
 never—at
 first—want
 to
 write
 about
 Oklahoma.
 They
 say
 it’s
 flyover
 country,
 that
 life
 is
 elsewhere.
 Do
 you
 have
 any
 advice
as
what
I
might
say
to
this?
 
 [Howe]:
Oklahoma
suffers
from
a
cultural
inferiority
complex
because
the
state
was
created
by
 children
of
thieves.

For
young
writers
and
even
older
writers,
it’s
easier
to
look
away
from
that
 white,
 hot
 center
 of
 Oklahoma’s
 story.
 
 My
 advice
 is
 to
 look
 deep
 into
 the
 contours
 of
 Oklahoma’s
culture
and
find
your
characters
at
home.





 
 


101



Shawn
Holliday
(Editor).
The
Oklahoma
Poets
Laureate.
 Mongrel
Empire
Press.
2014.


Reviewed by Bayard Godsave


 The
 Oklahoma
 Poets
 Laureate,
 edited
 by
 Shawn
 Holliday
 and
 published
 through
 Mongrel
 Empire
Press,
is
an
important
book,
even
if
it
is
not
always
an
enjoyable
one.
Oklahoma
has
had
 some
bad
poets
laureate
through
the
years,
as
Holliday
readily
points
out,
but
there
have
been
 some
exceptional
ones
as
well.
The
latter
half
of
this
book
contains
some
remarkable
poems
by
 some
remarkable
poets.
Oklahoma
has
long
produced
poets
and
writers,
musicians,
artists
of
all
 kinds.
 Rhymers,
 rebels,
 freaks,
 sonneteers.
 Today,
 the
 writing
 community
 is
 a
 close‐knit
 and
 stylistically
 diverse
 one;
 writers
 here
 recognize
 that
 they
 are
 keeping
 something
 alive,
 that
 expression,
that
giving
voice
to
the
voiceless—and
giving
voice
to
dissent—is
vital.
In
any
other
 place
 I
 have
 lived,
 I
 could
 not
 have
 named
 the
 state’s
 poet
 laureate,
 and
 I
 certainly
 don’t
 remember
 one
 ever
 showing
 up
 somewhere
 to
 read.
 In
 Oklahoma
 it’s
 different.
 The
 poet
 laureate
is
active,
she
or
he
is
a
presence,
and
in
that
respect
it
makes
sense
that
a
book
like
this
 should
be
published.
 The
 post
 of
 Poet
 Laureate
 is
 a
 political
 appointment,
 and
 one
 that
 since
 its
 creation
 in
 1923
 was
 meted
 out
 sporadically,
 often
 even
 forgotten
 about
 for
 long
 stretches
 of
 time.
 For
 almost
 seventy
 years,
 the
 duty
 of
 appointing
 a
 poet
 laureate
 has
 fallen
 solely
 to
 the
 governor
 and,
as
Holliday
notes
in
his
exhaustively
researched
introduction,
governors
aren’t
always
the
 best
 judges
 of
 poetry.
 For
 those
 first
 seventy
 years,
 our
 state’s
 official
 poets
 produced
 some
 at
 times
 rather
 mannered
 and
 unimaginative
 verse.
 While
 there
 are
 to
 be
 found
 some
 striking
 images
in
those
early
poems,
their
subject
matter
is
often
repetitive
and
their
treatment
of
that
 subject
 matter
 many
 times
 obvious.
 There
 are
 more
 than
 a
 few
 well‐meaninged
 but
 cringe‐ worthy
depictions
of
Native
peoples
in
those
early
years,
and
as
he
discusses
these
Holliday
does
 admirable
work
evaluating
such
poems
through
the
lens
of
historical
context,
while
at
the
same
 time
noting,
for
example,
the
problematic
reading
that
results
from
representing
Native
culture
 in
 traditionally
 western
 poetic
 forms
 like
 the
 sonnet.
 There
 are
 some
 bright
 spots,
 however.
 Violet
McDougal
(Oklahoma’s
first
poet
laureate)
describes
the
sight
of
an
oil
fire,
in
her
poem
 of
that
same
name,
with
a
kind
of
vivid
and
startling
grace,
and
her
poem
“The
Knife‐Thrower”
is
 a
captivating
dramatic
monologue
that
has
preserved
for
us
a
glimpse
of
the
Western
sideshow,
 a
once
familiar
part
of
a
now‐gone
Oklahoma.
Maggie
Culver
Fry
(poet
laureate
from
1997‐1995)
 often
writes
of
her
Cherokee
heritage,
and
the
poems
here,
in
particular
“The
Witch
Deer”
and
 “Willow
Wands,”
are
dynamic
and
freer
from
constraint
than
many
of
her
predecessors.
 In
 1994
 Governor
 David
 Walters
 supported
 legislation
 that
 would
 not
 only
 provide
 a
 definition
 for
 the
 post
 of
 Poet
 Laureate,
 which
 to
 that
 point
 had
 been
 largely
 unclear,
 even
 to
 many
of
the
office
holders,
and
attach
a
two
year
term
to
it,
but
that
also
stated
specifically
that
 the
 governor’s
 appointment
 would
 be
 selected
 from
 a
 list
 provided
 by
 “poetry
 societies
 and
 organizations.”
 Currently,
 the
 Oklahoma
 Arts
 Council
 organizes
 the
 nomination
 process,
 and
 102




since
the
inclusion
of
such
“poetry
societies
and
organizations”
in
the
nomination
process,
the
 quality
 of
 work
 by
 the
 state’s
 poets
 laureate
 has
 been
 drastically
 improved.
 As
 Holliday
 points
 out,
 there
 have
 been
 “some
 missteps,”
 but
 it’s
 almost
 as
 if
 the
 year
 1995
 marks
 a
 kind
 of
 sea
 change,
and
it
is
noticeable
that
something
has
happened
when
the
book
finds
its
way
to
that
 year’s
appointee,
Carol
Jean
Hamilton.
In
particular,
Hamilton’s
long
poem,
“Flatland”
seems
to
 deliver
 the
 thing
 I
 had
 been
 looking
 for
 but
 not
 finding
 throughout
 much
 the
 rest
 of
 the
 anthology:
 a
 panoramic,
 thematically
 and
 poetically
 complex,
 longview
 of
 Oklahoma
 as
 place.
 Written
 in
 clean,
 short
 lines,
 in
 irregular
 stanzas,
 the
 poem
 seems
 to
 owe
 a
 debt
 to
 poets
 like
 Charles
Olson,
Loraine
Niedecker
and
William
Carlos
Williams,
poets
with
an
intimate
feel
for
 the
line
as
measured
by
breath,
and
who
all
have
a
deep
connection
to
place.
Midway
through
 the
poem’s
first
section
we
see
Hamilton
making
use
of
the
poetry
and
cadence
of
place
names:
 
 Plain
View.
Sand
Fork.
 Red
Rock.
Stillwater.
 Lookout.
Pond
Creek.
 Driftwood.
Ft.
Supply.
 
 And
after
a
stanza
break,
this:
 
 Last
summer
she
walked
 onto
the
garbage
pile
 burning
there,
thought

 of
the
creditors,
and
 died
as
another
bit
of
 of
refuse.
 The
 moment,
 as
 horrific
 as
 it
 is
 sad,
 could
 easily
 come
 off
 as
 melodrama,
 but
 the
 tone
 of
 it,
 coming
as
it
does
like
another
item
in
the
list
above
it,
has
been
stripped
of
its
sentiment
and
left
 as
only
a
bright
and
terrible
image.
 From
Hamilton
runs
a
line
of
really
strong
poets
laureate:
Betty
Lou
Shipley,
Carl
Braun
 Sennhenn,
 Francine
 Leffler
 Ringold.
 Ringold’s
 poem
 “The
 Flume
 Maker”
 stands
 out
 for
 its
 employment
of
imagery
and
economy
to
elevate
a
simple
moment,
a
bricklayer
laying
brick,
to
 the
 sublime
 through
 language.
 Jim
 Barnes’s
 “An
 Ex‐Deputy
 Sheriff
 Remembers
 the
 Eastern
 Oklahoma
Murders,”
is
a
marvelous
voice
poem
that,
like
Carol
Hamilton’s
poem,
uses
a
kind
of
 flat,
 objective
 tone
 to
 drain
 a
 subject
 matter
 fraught
 with
 potential
 melodrama
 of
 the
 sentimentality
that
might
kill
it—and
there
is
a
subtle
kind
of
dissent
here
too,
in
the
way
that
 Barnes’s
title
specifically
names
the
four
killings
in
the
poem
“murders,”
though
one
of
them
is
 the
legal,
if
brutal,
execution
of
a
Choctaw
man.

 Some
serendipity
must
have
been
at
work
somewhere
that,
just
as
the
production
of
this
 book
 was
 wrapping
 up—or
 so
 it
 seems—Mary
 Fallin
 named
 Benjamin
 Myers
 the
 state’s
 twentieth
 poet
 laureate.
 A
 perfect
 way
 to
 close
 the
 book,
 Myers’
 poems
 are
 smart,
 trade
 in
 


103



arresting
 imagery,
 and
 often
 explore
 those
 places
 where
 the
 personal
 meets
 the
 historical.
 His
 poem
 “Bad
 Harvest”
 begins
 with
 a
 description
 of
 itinerant
 combine
 crews,
 moves
 through
 an
 exploration
of
the
American
tendency
to
construct
its
own
narrative—focusing
on
the
supposed
 link
between
William
Henry
Harrison’s
pneumonia
and
his
going
hatless
at
his
inauguration— and
ends
with
the
speaker
as
a
young
man,
painting
his
uncle’s
cabin.
“I
would
run
to
the
murky
 red
lake,”
he
tells
us,
Myers’
descriptive
prowess
on
full
display,
“feet
slurping/through
leaf
rot
 and
mud.”
At
the
time,
he
informs
us,
“I
thought
 
 I
was
writing
a
novel.
Evenings
I
would
watch
the
trotline

 bobbers
nodding
into
the
darkness
and
each
morning
 
 wake
beneath
mosquito
netting
on
the
porch.
I
actually
thought
 I
was
writing
a
novel.
Thank
god
it
didn’t
turn
out
that
way.
 
 Thank
god,
indeed.
 The
standout
in
this
collection
is,
of
course,
Oklahoma’s
sixteenth
poet
laureate,
N.
Scott
 Momaday.
 Born
 in
 Oklahoma
 and
 spending
 his
 first
 year
 at
 his
 grandparents’
 house
 on
 the
 Kiowa
Indian
reservation
near
Carnegie,
Momaday’s
The
 Way
 To
 Rainy
 Mountain
is
one
of
the
 finest
 examples
 of
 writing
 about
 place
 in
 general,
 and
 Oklahoma
 specifically.
 The
 poems
 included
 here
 showcase
 tendency
 in
 Momaday’s
 work
 to
 employ
 varying
 formal
 approaches.
 Poems
like
“Sun
Dance
Shield,”
“The
Wound,”
“Fort
Sill
(Set‐angia)”
and
“Scaffold
Bear”
will
be
 easily
recognized
by
readers
already
familiar
with
Momaday’s
work,
though
somehow
they
seem
 to
speak
more
directly
to
and
about
Oklahoma
in
the
context
of
this
collection.

 




The
 Poets
 Laureate
 of
 Oklahoma
 is
a
necessary
book;
even
it
must
necessarily
contain
some
 forgettable,
 and
 sometimes
 bad
 poems—and,
 Holliday
 must
 be
 commended
 for
 his
 selection
 throughout,
 because
 it
 could
 have
 been
 worse—it
 preserves
 an
 important
 part
 of
 this
 state’s
 history.
 And,
 what’s
 more,
 it
 extends
 into
 the
 future
 what
 has
 become
 in
 recent
 history
 a
 fine
 tradition
 of
 poets
 laureate
 who
 are
 dedicated
 to
 the
 craft,
 and
 have
 dedicated
 themselves
 to
 being
 ambassadors
 of
 good
 poetry.
 Perhaps
 the
 best
 way
 to
 illustrate
 the
 good
 in
 what
 these
 pages
 contain
 (and
 because
 it
 is
 probably
 the
 only
 time
 we
 will
 be
 able
 to
 run
 something
 by
 Momaday
 in
 The
 Oklahoma
 Review)
 is
 to
 end
 with
 these
 lines
 from
 N.
 Scott
 Momaday’s
 “Carnegie,
Oklahoma,
1919”:
 
 Oh,
there
is
nothing
like
this
afternoon
 in
all
the
years
and
miles
around,
 and
I
am
not
here,
 but,
grandfather,
father,
I
am
here.


104




Jenny
Yang
Cropp.
String
Theory. Mongrel
Empire
Press.
2015.


Reviewed by Nick Brush


 Everything
 in
 our
 universe
 is
 connected:
 mothers,
 daughters,
 kimchi,
 race,
 poetry.
 Jenny
 Yang
 Cropp’s
 String
 Theory
 envisions
 a
 world
 where
 all
 of
 these
 connections
 are
 visible,
 and
 the
 strings
that
tie
these
different
objects
together
are
plucked
like
a
harp
with
one
dissonant
note.
 Beautiful
music
emanates
from
the
work,
but
there
is
an
underlying
sharpness
in
Cropp’s
words.
 Her
 self‐reflections
 and
 self‐actualizations
 reveal
 an
 inner
 strength
 that,
 before
 putting
 pen
 to
 page,
she
may
not
have
known
was
there.
However,
through
the
use
of
poetry,
her
journey
from
 present
to
past
and
future
follows
an
asymmetrical
pattern,
a
cat’s
cradle
with
one
side
stretched
 farther
than
the
other.
 
 Divided
into
three
sections,
String
Theory
is
an
exploration
of
the
poet’s
persona.
Cropp
is
 not
afraid
to
put
her
inner‐most
struggles
on
the
page,
allowing
readers
 to
experience
a
world
 that
many
do
not
even
know
exists.
A
world
where
a
driver’s
license
becomes
a
symbol
of
racial
 identity.
 A
 world
 where
 a
 mother
 who
 abandons
 a
 young
 daughter
 provides
 advice
 when
 that
 daughter
becomes
a
mother
herself.
A
world
where
all
things,
no
matter
how
different,
all
seem
 to
 be
 pulled
 together
 and
 tied
 up
 with
 the
 same
 strings
 that
 tug
 on
 the
 heart
 of
 someone
 learning
about
herself.
 
 
Many
of
these
pieces
are
visceral,
forcing
readers
to
examine
themselves
and
their
place
 within
 the
 confines
 of
Cropp’s
 poetry.
 In
 “Hooker
 Hill,”
 Cropp’s
 search
 for
 her
 mother,
 “the
 m
 attached
to
other,”
urges
readers
to
not
only
follow
a
young
girl
as
she
tries
to
understand
why
 her
 mother
 left,
 but
 to
 also
 explore
 their
 own
 relationships.
 Who
 hasn’t
 been
 that
 “lost
 child
 stumbling
/
through
grocery
aisles,
hungry
and
hoping
/
each
hem
I
touch
will
be
the
one”?
This
 exploration
 of
 the
 self
 in
 relationship
 to
 one’s
 childhood
 is
 a
 theme
 that
 is
 carefully
 woven
 throughout
 the
 book.
 Likewise,
 a
 theme
 of
 compulsion,
 a
 demand
 from
 the
 author
 to
 readers
 that
they
look
deeper
into
their
own
being,
permeates
every
word
found
in
Cropp’s
poems.
 
 
The
title
poem,
“String
Theory,”
is
perhaps
the
best
example
of
Cropp’s
urging
for
readers
 to
 take
 her
 story
 and
 apply
 it
 to
 their
 own
 existence.
 She
 describes
 the
 universe
 as
 a
 “moving,
 breathing
thing,
a
fluctuation
/
in
and
out
of
possibility.”
How
appropriate
this
description
is
for
 everyone
 searching
 for
 meaning
 and
 understanding
 of
 their
 own
 lives.
 Every
 string,
 every
 particle,
 every
 moment,
 and
 every
 person
 plays
 a
 part
 in
 the
 grander
 scale,
 the
 universe,
 of
 Cropp’s
work,
and
similar
strings,
particles,
moments,
and
people
play
equally
important
roles
in
 the
lives
of
her
readers.
 
 In
short,
String
Theory
is
more
than
just
a
book;
it
is
a
pilgrimage
of
the
soul
for
anyone
 who
reads
it.
Every
thread
and
every
stitch
is
woven
together
to
create
a
story
that
can
only
be
 told
by
one
person,
yet
that
story
belongs
to
each
and
every
person,
too.
Cropp
manages
to
not
 only
 help
 readers
 understand
 her
 soul‐searching,
 but
 she
 also
 forces
 readers
 to
 do
 some
 soul‐ searching
of
their
own.
Cropp
is
able
to
make
readers
uncomfortable
while
comforting
them
at
 


105



the
same
time.
It’s
okay
to
experience
emotions
like
loneliness,
because
we’ve
all
been
there.
It’s
 okay
to
experience
moments
of
turmoil,
because
the
universe
itself
thrives
on
it.
String
Theory
is
 the
net
that
gathers
up
every
little
thing
that
makes
up
the
universe
of
our
lives
and
presents
it
 in
one
tightly‐woven
package.
 


106




Jerry
Gabriel.
The
Let
Go. Queen’s
Ferry
Press.
2015.


Reviewed by George McCormick 
 I’m
thinking
about
times
in
my
life
where
I
took
refuge
in
a
book;
times
where
if
you
would
have
 taken
the
book
from
me
I
would
have
felt
lost,
aimless,
a
refugee.
And
I’m
thinking
about
how
 many
of
these
moments,
many
of
these
books
are
at
once
tied
to
a
certain
temporal
marker
in
 my
 life,
 but
 also
 to
 a
 particular
 location:
 reading
 Sebald
 on
 a
 Greyhound
 with
 a
 pen‐light
 somewhere
 in
 Minnesota;
 another
 bus,
 a
 local,
 near
 San
 Jose,
 reading
 Lorrie
 Moore’s
 Birds
 of
 America
on
my
way
to
work
after
my
car
had
been
impounded;
Gass’
Cartestian
Sonata
next
to
 the
frozen
lake
in
Madison,
my
red
and
blistered
fingers
(dishwashing,
double‐shift)
turning
the
 pages
in
 the
cold;
or
that
early
 memory
 of
The
 Red
 Pony,
laying
 on
my
 parents
bed
 because
 it
 was
the
only
room
in
the
house
that
had
air
conditioning.
What
strikes
me
is
that
each
of
these
 books
 came
 by
 chance,
 and
 their
 importance
 to
 me
 wasn’t
 in
 any
 direct
 parallel
 between
 the
 content
of
their
pages
and
the
content
of
my
life,
but
in
a
vastly
more
oblique
and
interesting
 way.
I
bring
all
of
this
up
because
a
week
ago,
at
the
end
of
a
long
semester,
I
imagined
that
after
 I
had
graded
my
last
paper,
submitted
my
last
‘B’,
I
would
take
refuge
on
my
couch
and
binge
 watch
a
show.
Netflix
had
suggested
The
Leftovers
and
it
looked
pretty
good.
But
a
curious
thing
 happened
on
the
way
to
that
couch:
while
waiting
in
the
parking
lot
of
my
daughter’s
daycare,
I
 cracked
open
Jerry
Gabriel’s
story
collection
The
Let
Go
and
I
was
spellbound
from
the
opening
 sentence:
“The
mechanism
was
simple:
a
phone
call
to
a
Laundromat
payphone
in
Rush,
nearly
 forty
 miles
 north
 of
 Shallsville…These
 were
 perfect
 conditions.
 Her
 father
 had
 examined
 every
 payphone
 within
 a
 hundred
 miles
 of
 Shallsville,
 she
 knew,
 because
 she
 had
 been
 with
 him
 for
 much
 of
 the
 search.”
 By
 the
 time
 my
 wife
 and
 my
 daughter
 had
 reached
 the
 car,
 and
 were
 patiently
tapping
on
the
window,
I
was
ten
pages
into
a
story
about
a
little
girl,
her
father,
and
 the
political
fugitive
they
were
harboring.
That
night
I
finished
the
story
and
read
on—a
couple
 wake
one
morning
to
find
that
dream
house
they’ve
bought
is
something
else
entirely;
an
Iraq
 war
 veteran
 returns
 to
 an
 Ohio
 that
 has
 grown
 utterly
 alien.
 Or
 perhaps
 he’s
 the
 outlier.
 The
 refugee.
 This
 question
 of
 where
 and
 how
 one
 finds
 home
 haunts
 not
 only
 each
 of
 these
 first
 three
stories,
but
the
entirety
of
The
Let
Go.
If
the
book
became
addictive
(I
finished
it
in
about
a
 day;
no
small
feat
seeing
that
each
story
is
about
forty
pages—and
I
could
write
a
whole
essay
 about
 what
 Gabriel
 is
 doing
 new
 here
 in
 terms
 of
 form[maybe
 I
 will]—and
 the
 book
 in
 its
 entirety
 is
 a
 solid
 280
 pages)
 it
 was
 because
 I
 was
 addicted
 to
 being
 moved.
 Moved
 by
 stories
 about
characters
who
were
not
supposed
to
have
much
in
common
with
me
but
who,
each
time,
 absolutely
did.
All
of
this
against
a
backdrop
of
a
southern
Ohio
I
know
next
to
nothing
about
 personally,
 but
 seem
 to
 now
 understand
 emotionally.
 That’s
 what
 these
 seven
 stories
 do:
 they
 create
spaces
of
empathy
inside
a
culture
of
cynicism;
they
remind
us
how
big‐hearted
we
can
 be.
Netflix
binges
notwithstanding,
can
there
be
anything
more
important
than
that?


107



Contributors
 
 
 Nick
Brush
is
originally
from
Arkansas,
but
he
grew
up
in
Oklahoma
at
the
age
of
thirty.
His
 poetry
has
been
published
in
The
Gold
Mine
and
Cuento
Magazine,
and
he
has
written
book
 reviews
for
The
Oklahoma
Review
and
Cybersoleil.

 
 Jason
Christian's
work
has
appeared
or
is
forthcoming
in
Atticus
Review,
Burningword
Literary
 Journal,
Cleaver
Magazine,
The
Collagist,
This
Land
Press,
World
Literature
Today,
and
 elsewhere.
He
is
an
editorial
assistant
at
the
literary
journal
10,000
Tons
of
Black
Ink.
He
 recently
graduated
with
an
English
degree
from
Oklahoma
State
University
and
plans
to
pursue
 an
MFA.
He
lives
in
Oklahoma
City.
 
 Kate
Daloz
received
her
MFA
from
Columbia
University,
where
she
also
taught
undergraduate
 writing.
Her
first
book,
We
Are
As
Gods:
Back
to
the
Land
in
the
1970s
on
the
Quest
for
a
New
 America,
is
out
from
PublicAffairs
in
April
2016.
She
lives
with
her
family
in
Brooklyn,
NY.
 
 Bayard
Godsave
teaches
in
the
Department
of
English
&
Foreign
Languages
at
Cameron
 University.
 
 George
McCormick
as
an
editor
and
regular
contributor
to
The
Oklahoma
Reivew.
 
 Jeanetta
Calhoun
Mish
is
a
poet,
writer
and
literary
scholar;
hermost
recent
book
is
 Oklahomeland,
a
collection
of
essays
published
by
Lamar
University
Press.
What
I
Learned
at
the
 War,
a
poetry
collection,
is
forthcoming
in
2016
from
West
End
Press.
Her
2009
poetry
 collection,
Work
Is
Love
Made
Visible
(West
End
Press)
won
an
Oklahoma
Book
Award,
a
 Wrangler
Award,
and
the
WILLA
Award
from
Women
Writing
the
West.
She
has
published
 poetry
in
This
Land,
Naugatuck
River
Review,
Concho
River
Review,
LABOR:
Studies
in
Working
 Class
History
of
the
Americas,
San
Pedro
River
Review,
Blast
Furnace,
and
Protestpoems.org,
 among
others.
Essays
and
short
fiction
have
appeared
recently
in
Sugar
Mule,
Crosstimbers,
Red
 Dirt
Chronicles,
and
Cybersoleil.
Anthology
publications
include
poems
in
Returning
the
Gift
 and
The
Colour
of
Resistance
as
well
as
the
introductory
essay
for
Ain't
Nobody
That
Can
Sing
 Like
Me:
New
Oklahoma
Writing.
 
 Sarah
Nguyen
is
a
painter
living
and
working
in
rural
Missouri.
Her
work
has
appeared
in
solo
 and
group
exhibits
and
publications
nationally
and
internationally.
She
received
her
BFA
in
 Illustration
from
Rhode
Island
School
of
Design
and
her
MFA
in
Painting
from
the
University
of
 the
Arts
in
Philadelphia.
She
works
as
an
Art
Instructor
at
the
University
of
Central
Missouri
and


108




Art
Editor
of
Pleiades
Magazine
and
Pleiades
Press.
She
currently
lives
in
central
Missouri
with
 her
husband,
the
writer
Phong
Nguyen,
and
their
three
sons.
 
 Chris
Warren
is
writer
who
lives
in
Portland,
Oregon,
and
Cooke
City,
Montana.
He
is
currently
 finishing
a
monograph
on
Ernest
Hemingway's
time
spent
in
Montana
and
Wyoming.
 


109



110




111



112




 
 
 


Oklahoma Review, 16.2  

Oklahoma Review, Fall2015

Oklahoma Review, 16.2  

Oklahoma Review, Fall2015

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