04 February 2008

Richards "Fun at the Beach"

This story's opening seems particularly quote-worthy:

Got a letter from a girl said we ought to get together before her
husband gets parole. Said maybe we could rent another bungalow down at Big
Bill's Beach Cabanas like last time, maybe steam up some shrimp and suck out the
heads, maybe break a box of old 45s against the walls, the tequila-drinking
things, things like me doing it to her from behind with her leaning out the
bungalow window whistling at sailors on the boardwalk, what did I think?
I wrote back and said, Do I know you?

After a few more of these exchanges, the girl shows up, husband in tow. Though this story--as with most of the stories in the collection--is low on plot, I loved the way Richard sketches out this strange little corner of the Florida coast, giving a good sense of a town that manages to be simultaneously backwater and touristy. (It reminds me of Melville's line that "true places" are not to be found on any map.)

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