Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Lake Michigan Prologue

Are you ready to go? he said.

Yeah, said Boyd. Just waitin on you.

They took a shotgun from a closet in the bedroom and they took nineteen dollars in coins and small bills from a white china box in a bureau drawer and stuffed it all into an oldfashioned leather changepurse. They took the blanket off the bed and they found Billy a belt and some clothes and they took all the shotshells out of a Carhart coat hanging on the wall at the back door, one double-ought buckshot and the rest number five and number seven shot, and they took a laundry bag and filled it with canned goods and bread and bacon and crackers and apples from the pantry and they walked out and tied the bag to the horn of the saddle and mounted up and rode out the little sandy street riding double with the dog trotting after them. A woman with clothespins in her mouth in a yard they passed nodded to them. They crossed the highway and they crossed the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railway and turned west. Come dark they were camped on the alkali flats fifteen miles west of Lordsburg before a fire made of fenceposts they’d dragged out of the ground with the horse. East and to the south there was water on the flats and two sandhill cranes stood tethered to their reflections out there in the last of the day’s light like statues of such birds in some waste of a garden where calamity had swept all else away. All about them the dry cracked platelets of mud lay curing and the fencepost fire ran tattered in the wind and the balled papers from the groceries they opened loped away one by one downwind into the gathering dark.   - C. McCarthy, The Crossing, page 171


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