Robert McCarthy, "In Gavin Slough"

Two old friends reunite when one drives his car off the road and onto the muddy, disgusting property of the other.

(from Zoetrope All-Story, Spring 2005)

What this story mostly has going for it is setting. The murky, muddy, mosquito-riffic slough is described in great detail and furious persistence. We know it to be frequented by runaway dogs, enormous fish and numerous other slimy things all of which are lined up to make one thing clear: You do not want to ever go there. Yet Ed Brain lives there, thanks to unhappy accidents and dipping standards. A lot of the language, even when it’s feverishly working to inspire disgust, is quite beautiful:
“…Higgy’s gulps were like coins in a wishing well.”
“…a foam that released an odor of things dying and being born.”
“On these nights Ed Brain breathed the dank rot of Gavin Slough and tasted the tang on the air between his corrugated iron walls and felt only one thing with any clarity: that he had fallen headlong into the deepest, darkest ditch he could ever have imagined.”
Overall: The plot was okay, the dialogue wasn’t bad, the pace was too slow at times. Mostly clever, sickeningly sensual. Definitely a worthwhile read.

Here‘s where you can read the beginning of the story.

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