Tartts 2: Incisive Fiction From Emerging Writers
ed. Joe Taylor and Others
|The second annual selection of the best from Tartts First
Fiction Contest. Includes "Gun Hill Road," by winner Philip
Cioffari, and stories by twenty more emerging authors: Joe
Benevento, Naomi Benaron, Jocelyn Cox, Margaret Moceri, Sandra
Novack, Liz Orndorff, John Hanft, Valery Varble, Jennifer Grow,
Louella Bryant, Jim Tomlinson, Jimmy Carl Harris, Christopher Chambers
ISBN: 0-930501-32-2 Library Binding $25
ISBN: 0-930501-33-0 Trade Paper $14.95
| Excerpt From
GUN HILL ROAD
The girl had burst into the diner in a hurry but once inside she had taken her time settling into a booth, spreading her things on the seat—an overstuffed knapsack, a leather jacket, a set of keys—then sipping two cups of coffee, one right after the other, with deliberate restraint. She sat by the window beneath a neon sign, OPEN 24 HOURS, the bright orange light of the letters directed toward the street and the ghostly, moonstruck tombs of the cemetery on the far side.
Her eyes kept drifting to the window as if she might be expecting someone. Finally she lifted the knapsack onto the table and began to undo the straps. It was nearly three in the morning and there were no other customers to distract Molly, the owner, a large woman with a round, hard face who leaned behind the counter studying the girl, directly across the aisle, for whom she had developed an instant dislike.
“That bag,” she said, “off the table. I keep a clean place here.”
“Yeah, like the neighborhood.”
“I can’t help what happens outside. But in here I don’t let things fall apart.”
“Good for you,” the girl said with a sharp edge, but she set the bag down on the seat beside her.
“That’ll be your third cup.”
“Is there a limit?”
Another smart-mouth, Molly decided, moving around the register toward the booth. They came in after school from P.S. 12 for doughnuts and soda. Noisy and brazen, the girls often behaved worse than the boys, no traces of what once had been referred to as “breeding.” If they were unruly enough, she refused to serve them and they would jeer and curse at her from the street. This one was older, though, out of school. She reached for the cup, saw the girl was thinner than she had thought, more fragile, despite the attitude.
“Least drink de-caf, for god’s sake.”