I don't know why I'm posting somebody else's short stories here. Maybe it's because he's a writer too few people know about. I suppose if I say I'm 'curating' the story it's a little less odd. He's a West Virginia writer, a true representative of Appalachia, and his sad success mirrors the tragedy many of us in Appalachia face--reward comes only with great personal loss.
I may have posted this before, but Kurt Vonnegut said, about Pancake, "I give you my word of honor that he is merely the best writer, the most sincere writer I've ever read. What I suspect is that it hurt too much, was no fun at all to be that good. You and I will never know."
from The Atlantic Monthly
The Atlantic Monthly | December 1977
"I see a concrete patch in the street. It's shaped like Florida, and I recollect what I wrote in Ginny's yearbook: 'We will live on mangoes and love.'"
by B. D'J. Pancake
open the truck's door, step onto the brick side street. I look at Company Hill again, all sort of worn down and round. A long time ago it was real craggy, and stood like an island in the Teays River. It took over a million years to make that smooth little hill, and I've looked all over it for trilobites. I think how it has always been there and always will be, least for as long as it matters. The air is smoky with summertime. A bunch of starlings swim over me. I was born in this country and I have never very much wanted to leave. I remember Pop's dead eyes looking at me. They were real dry, and that took something out of me. I shut the door, head for the café.
I see a concrete patch in the street. It's shaped like Florida, and I recollect what I wrote in Ginny's yearbook: "We will live on mangoes and love." And she up and left without me—two years she's been down there without me. She sends me postcards with alligator wrestlers and flamingos on the front. She never asks me any questions. I feel like a real fool for what I wrote, and go into the café.
Read the whole thing here: http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/77dec/pancake.htm