• Twentyone is too old to go anywhere alone, you know that. I want to go with someone. I don't mean as a bride, I'm not so gauche as that, but as a mistress or paramour or concubine or companion or friend or pal or anything else. I just don't want to be left alone! I want to get out of here!" She said it again for all the wide-faced flowers to hear: "I want to get out of here!

    Douglas Woolf
  • They looked so familiar that for a moment Claude feared he had doubled back to Mrs. Merritt's city, until a sudden wave of water blinded his wipers and drove him along with everyone else to the curb, where the crackling radio reported an old man had just now been swept from his backyard by a cloudburst, the latest in a series deluging Tulsa. Clinging there to the side of the hill, no hand brake, Claude rode out the storm, stuffing blankets into the cracks under the doors, watching overhead drips as best he could with the babyseat. When the car next in front crept away from the curb, Claude followed as far as a gas station. There he wondered aloud what lay ahead, but the attendant couldn't say, having swum to work just five minutes ago. Now as Claude pulled away the rain suddenly ceased, it seemed from exhaustion, and for the next hundred miles he spun his dial to catch the latest reports: that old man was still missing, he had last been seen floating downhill toward the river, he had been found, he was dead, he was dying, he was still missing... Claude turned off the radio, for he was beyond range of Tulsa, and Joplin had not heard the news yet. He raced in silence toward the night which he knew already had begun not far ahead

    Douglas Woolf
  • With such luck as this, he rode the beast in the jaunty way that she deserved, back north, seemingly back from Mexico, pulling up finally at an outlying bar-ex-saloon (they had covered the old adobe face with knotty pine, substituted big stone matades for the cuspidors) and having brought her wrecklessly this far did not park her in the little parking lot but in front of the church next door. They had lifted that face too and neonized, but it did no good, they seemed to know they had no chance against an older god, their doors were closed. Thus one could join the pagan worshipers with a self-righteous shrug, through latticed doors

    Douglas Woolf
  • At the high school a pretty girl strolled across the parking lot to her black stallion, let her cigarette dangle from her lips while she put on her helmet, adjusted her goggles. Throwing a slender white leg over the side she jacked her little backside up and down a few times, exciting the steed. Now she came down on his back and he squatted, moaning to the soft squeeze of her hand, then at her sudden clutch shot out fast between the press of her knees. Claude looked down at his shoes as they passed, having seen nothing. But he glanced up in time to watch them glide off under the next streetlamp, the gleaming beast appearing almost languid with release, very pleased with himself and with the girl who clung to his back, small and stiff and unsatisfied.She had been noticed: everywhere along the way the leaning people looked after her as though wondering if the new week had finally begun, then they looked at one another, then back at nothing

    Douglas Woolf
  • Pete offered tobacco and paper, but Claude brought out his cigarettes and they both decided to try those. Pete provided the match. When he had their cigarettes burning strongly he turned to look back at the road, then straight up ahead. "We'll get there for supper if we get there," he said, and Claude laughed. Pete was a young man, but had a wild old grin stretched all out of shape in the corners and punched full of holes

    Douglas Woolf
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