Authors: Richard Ford
But instead the boy fired.
Somewhere between his ribs and his collarbone he felt a great upheaval, a tumult of molecules being rearranged and sloughed off in rapid succession, and in the midst of it a feeling like hitting your thumb so hard with a hammer that the pain is delayed and stays inert in your thumb for a long number of seconds before it flies up, and you have to lie down just to get yourself ready. That, until he hit the water. Then it hurt and felt cold all at one time, and the surface of the water seemed like a line bobbing in front of his eyes up and sideways and down again, like a lariat being snaked and twirled over the top of itself. And he could hear a loud and tremendous roaring and himself saying “Oh, oh,” and tried to see above the water and beyond the rocking boat nearby, but couldn't.
In the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans he went with his father out of their room and into the dark, shaded corridor to where the elevators were, to go have oysters in the Sazerac Bar. And in the corridor there were men piled up against a doorway, straining and staring inside at something he could not see, but that was the object of someone's flash camera inside the room. And when his father got to where the men were, he looked in over their shoulders and said, “Look here. “And the men parted the way and he stepped up to the door and looked around the painted jamb and saw a young man in his thirties with short blond hair and a square meaty face, lying face down half on his bed and half off, with his feet sticking straight up into the air like flagpoles, holding a pistol. The room was cool and smelled like cheap soap, and the man looked strange to be lying in that particular way. And he said to his father, “What's this?” And all at once the dark man with the camera reached to move the young man who was half on and half off the bed, and his father said, “Listen, now listen, and you can hear him rattle in his throat.”And he listened and when the man with the camera moved the man with his feet on the bed in such a way that he was no longer lying on his nose, there was a faint sound from somewhere, like someone in the room had caught a fly in his throat
and tried to cough it up without making any noise, and his father said, “See? See? Did you hear it?” And he wasn't ever sure if he had heard it or not.
Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. He has published six novels and three collections of stories, including
The Sportswriter, Independence Day, Wildlife, A Multitude of Sins
and most recently
The Lay of the Land. Independence Day
was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
The Ultimate Good Luck
The Lay of the Land
Women with Men: Three Stories
A Multitude of Sins
This electronic edition published in 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Copyright Â© 1976 by Richard Ford
The moral right of the author has been asserted
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