Saturday, April 07, 2007

Deadman's Road

The Spring 2007 issue of Subterranean Magazine has a story by Joe R. Lansdale that was simply fantastic: Deadman's Road.

It hit me with this in the second and third paragraphs and did not let me go.
He was a man of the Lord and he hated God, hated the sonofabitch with all his heart.

And he knew God knew and didn’t care, because he knew Jebidiah was his messenger. Not one of the New Testament, but one of the Old Testament, harsh and mean and certain, vengeful and without compromise; a man who would have shot a leg out from under Moses and spat in the face of the Holy Ghost and scalped him, tossing his celestial hair to the wild four winds.
Hot damn. It tells us everything we need to know about Jebidiah and sets up the tone of the rest of the story very well. This is followed up with gems like these two:
"I have become irritated with you now," Jebidiah said. "Might I suggest you shut your mouth before I pistol whip you."

The deputy puked in the bushes. "Oh, God. I don't want no more of this."

"Go back. I won't think the less of you, cause I don't think that much of you to begin with. Take his head for evidence and ride on, just leave me my horse."

The deputy adjusted his hat. "Don't need the head...And if it comes to it, you'll be glad I'm here. I ain't no weak sister."

"Don't talk me to death on the matter. Show me what you got, boy."

It's a damn good story. Makes me want to seek out more of Lansdale's short fiction and see what else he's got.

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