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Along These Highways

(Stories by) Rene S. Perez II

Publication Year: 2012

Rene Perez has the ability to stop time. In fact, time stops as soon as you start reading one of his short stories. You find yourself transported into the minds and lives of people you thought you didn't know. Suddenly they are your best friends.
They live in Texas. Most of them are Hispanic. But their problems are universal.
Like Alfredo, driving home from Dallas to Greenton with the body of his friend "Frankie" Ochoa in the back of his hearse and his son Ramon ready to drive if Alfredo's eyesight fails again.
Or Joey, just back from basic training and ready to ship out with his Marine platoon. He's having beers with his best friend J.R. at Flojo's, a bar outside of Greenton run by Liz and Vicente, "the toughest couple in town."
Or Benny, who drops into Flojo's for the first time in years and finds his one-time friend Gumby drinking himself into oblivion. Turns out Gumby's luck is even worse than Benny's.
Or Virginia, the schoolteacher who's trying to become better educated in the hope that her son who went to Stanford will come back home to Corpus Christi. Or Eric, who spent all his money on two flashy wheels for his car and put them both on the passenger side so that they'll impress everyone on the sidewalk as he passes. Or Andy, who breaks into a home he's always wanted to see from the inside.
You'll want to know them all. And you will count yourself fortunate to have met them.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-11

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One Last Drive North

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pp. 1-8

“This place doesn’t have a thirteenth floor,” Alfredo says out loud, not noticing the woman standing next to him in the elevator. She looks at him and gives him a shrug that tells him she doesn’t much care to share in his observations. Alfredo reads her body language for ...

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Curses by Numbers

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pp. 9-14

Benny stood for a second in the doorway, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Flojo’s before walking in. He hadn’t been in the bar in six and a half years, and it felt like coming home. Nothing had changed. Vicente and Liz hadn’t gotten rid of the ...

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Remember, Before You Go

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pp. 15-26

Joey was disappointed that J.R.’s mother was not home when he walked across the street from his house to meet up with J.R. before going out that night. He had planned on getting all of his goodbyes for the Recio family out of the ...

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pp. 27-34

...“At this point in the evening, we’d like to call to the microphone a member of the Garza family to say a few words and get on with the real reason we’re here tonight—you didn’t all dress up just for the free food and cocktails, you know.” Byron Chudley pauses -...

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The Art of Making Something out of Nothing

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pp. 35-50

Memo stole the car, a white Oldsmobile 88 with holes in the floorboards and a tape of conjunto music stuck in the tape deck, from Evangelo, a punk-“Man, fuck him,” he said as he turned on the car with the keys he had taken from Evangelo’s house ...

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Lost Days

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pp. 51-56

The shop was near empty when Virginia walked in. This was the benefit of taking the day off from work and going on these explorations and adventures, as she thought them to be, on a weekday. She had just gotten out of a movie at the Century ...

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Ridin’ like a Balla

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pp. 57-59

Eric devised a plan regarding the wheels he would buy for his car after great consideration. He would get the wheels from Rent A Tire, who leased their tires and wheels for the cheapest prices of all the rent-to-own tire shops in Corpus, though their interest rates ...

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Please Don’t

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pp. 61-69

“Please don’t leave me alone,” Jonathan said. “You’re all I have.
”Hearing those words coming out of his mouth, Jonathan hated him-self. Is there anything more pathetic than begging to be loved? Who would want to be loved out of pity, just to not be alone? Jonathan would. ...

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Letting Go a Dream

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pp. 71-77

Ana walked to the side of her son’s house to take a look at his backyard be-fore knocking on his front door to announce her presence. Marcos’s back-yard was big, but Ana wasn’t looking at the lawn or trees. She was looking at the paved path that led to a basketball ...

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Last Primer

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pp. 79-89

John David Gomez sits waiting for me in his 1986 LTD Crown Victoria, the same one his mother used to drive, though he has touched up the car’s paint and tinted its windows in the many years since she left him and the car at her mother’s house so that she could pursue ...

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pp. 91-104

Night had fallen on Karnes County without Andy in Pawelekville, staking out the Carpentier house from the abandoned garage across Highway 123, as had been his plan. He was holed up at the Dairy Queen in Stockdale, regretting having ...

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Random Punchlines

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pp. 105-118

At 5:45 a.m., the last of the stragglers had left. Most of the plastic cups that had been strewn about the back and front yards as well as all through the house were in trash bags. All of the vomit had been mopped up from the bathroom floors. It was a ...

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Closeness to Taste

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pp. 119-133

William started giving pieces of himself to the hungry citizens of Austin, Texas, the first time he prepped dough at PizzaTex, which, incidentally, was the first time he had handled any food at the shop, aside from pulling pies off t ...

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p. 135-135

There are people too numerous to thank who have helped in some way with this book’s creation. Many of those people had nothing at all to do with any of the words in this book. Some of these people have never read these stories; a ...

About the Author

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p. 137-137

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599608
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530106

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2012