Sunday, June 15, 2008

From: The Soundcheck & the Fury

Wands for hands: a novel excerpt

A bit from my novel, "The Very Last Night." Tammy Miles is talking about her girl, Lucy, the pale, plain-faced, skinny-as-a-broomstick girl who has Billy Heavens mesmerized down in the nothing-doing Mississippi town of Roost:

Tammy Miles waved her cigarette like a child with a sparkler. She was smiling and laughing, telling Miss Annie about Lucy.

“She’s tall and skinny like her daddy and wild like her mama and she’s got my love for fancy ways of saying things but she’s her own thing, too. She got things in her we didn’t put there. She’s tougher than me. She can fend. She don’t fold. I seen her slug boys and separate fighting dogs, one about to maul the other and Lucy just reached in and said something sharp – she’s got a mouth on her, my girl – and they just stopped what they was doing. Lucy, Lucy. You can see clear to her bones how tough she is. She’s skinny and plain faced and she knows it, but it’s like she’s got wands for hands, the way she can cast a spell. She can make even dirt poor Mississippi a place worth living – if you know where to look. She knows. She got leads on buried treasure and towns that was lost to history. Can even pick a lock, my girl! Ain’t so hot on boys, leastways she ain’t found one that she likes in that special sort of way. She’s particular that way. I never was.”

Tammy Miles sighed. She snuffed one cigarette and lit another and watched the flame on the match until it liked to burn her fingers. She let it burn, a little. She didn’t know why. The frown on her face looked like a prop from some dramatic staging of a lesser tragedy.

No comments: