One-Eyed Man and Other Stories
This collection of 21 stories is organized into five sections, each with from one to six stories loosely focused on a particular place/time and set of characters. The Blue Heron Lake stories follow a community of Latino workers who eventually attempt to make their town a sanctuary city. The Brandon Forsythe stories feature a talented African American man wrongfully imprisoned. Unemployable as an ex-con, he becomes a successful drug lord.
The Carmichael stories feature residents in a small, upstate New York town, , facing--or avoiding--the challenges of contemporary culture. The Snake stories, set in 1920s South Carolina, provide disturbing, unforgettable images of Jim Crow at work. And the stand-alone story, Morocco, we believe, will convince readers that escape travel can start the healing of wounds even though the process can never be complete.
When the smoke alarm began its hellish scream she sat bolt upright, jumped out of bed, and ran naked (she liked to sleep naked) toward the door. Terror flooded her senses as she heard the crackle of burning wood beneath the ear-splitting din. Smoke slithered under the door and enveloped her feet and calves.
She reached for the door handle but stopped when Brett shouted: “Wait.” His tone was so commanding that its very force froze her hand in midair. She turned around. Naked also, he was charging out of the bathroom holding two damp face towels. He handed her one and wrapped the other around his face. “Cover your face,” he ordered. “The children!” she cried.
It wasn’t hot in the tiny second-class cabin, but Abigail woke covered with sweat. Her eyes wide with terror, it was all she could do not to scream. Gradually, with the cabin rising and falling as the freighter ploughed its way ahead, she remembered where she was. The sweat ran down her back and between her breasts; her cotton pajamas were soaked, as well as the sheets. She touched, momentarily startled, the red hair that now reached only the top of her ears, its curls cut into straight strips. Her fingers came away damp and gummy.
Why was it so short? Then she remembered. A few days after the fire, she had gone to the salon and told Molly to cut it all off. It was all she could think of doing. Brett had played endlessly with her thick curls. What other sacrifice could she lay before him? Her life? Maybe. What was left of it.