Caitlin Horrocks, “Steal Small”

TINYCA woman learns to accept her life.

(from This Is Not Your City)

“You need one of those shots?”

“Tetanus? I’m fine,” he said, but there’s no way of knowing with Leo if he meant fine because he’d had one or fine because fine’s what you are when you don’t think too much about yourself, about how you’re really doing and what you really need. We’re both of us fine most of the time.

The above description doesn’t do this story justice: “a woman learns to accept her life.” By the end, she does, maybe. Or she tells herself she does. It’s just hard to write in a single sentence what this story is about. It’s about a sister who only sends postcards and a mother who never much cared; it’s about a lover who works in a slaughterhouse and collects dogs to sell to the USDA for testing. It’s about a woman who lives in a better house than she’s ever lived in before, but still makes six dollars an hour working at Goodwill. Sometimes I’m bothered by well educated, middle class people writing stories about poor people, and it bothered me a little bit–it did–but this story feels authentic, true. And I don’t know how Caitlin Horrocks grew up. Maybe she knows these people better than I assume she does. I doubt it, but maybe.

Anyhow, it’s a very good story and Caitlin Horrocks is a talented writer. This story won a Pushcart. You can read a little bit of it here. And here is the author’s website.

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