Thomas McGuane, “Motherlode”

140908_r25408-887Ray forces cow insemination guru David to drive him to Morsel’s place at gunpoint. Even after he finds out the gun is fake, David sticks around.

(from The New Yorker, Sept. 8, 2014)

Two of the ranchers had finished eating and, Stetsons on the back of their heads, chairs tilted, they picked their teeth with the corners of their menus. As David put his wallet in his pocket and headed for the door, he realized he was being followed. He didn’t turn until he was halfway across the parking lot. When he did, the gun was in his stomach and his new friend was smiling at him. “Name’s Ray. Where’s your outfit?”

My Uncle Bob recommended I check out this story, and that was a good call. I enjoyed this strange, sometimes funny rural crime story. Do I completely understand what’s going on here? No I do not. I’m thinking I’m not supposed to have this whole thing figured out. I scoured the pages and listened to the audio version, to see if I’d missed clues that made the ending make more sense. I found only the stuff I liked when I read it the first time: blood, weirdness and intrigue, the kind of thing the Coen Brothers are good at. You can read the story here or listen to it here, where it’s read by the author, apparently, and not John Goodman, as it sounds to me.


Words This Story Taught Me:

  • chignon (n) a popular type of hairstyle generally achieved by pinning the hair into a knot at the nape of the neck or at the back of the head
  • marcelled (v) styled with deep regular waves 

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