Excerpt from “A Matter for Survival”:Big Trouble

The folding doors at the front of the school bus hiss behind me. I’m standing in front of Bobby Malincorn’s house on Lee’s Road not far south from Hammond, Louisiana. I can smell the smoke from Verna’s spring trash pile, and I hear the loud complaints of titmice tilting with bluebirds over choice nesting sites. The bridge over Boggy Creek is only a hundred feet away, and my home is only a little ways from the other end of that bridge. Some large pine trees line the narrow road, and a few cypresses take refuge in the marshy creek bed.

 I don’t recognize the large black car parked in front of our mailbox, but Mom keeps books for people, and it’s not unusual for clients to be dropping off paperwork and picking up tax forms at our house.

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