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Winter Money

Andy Plattner

Publication Year: 2013

The ten stories in Winter Money are set in rural Kentucky and West Virginia, in dim horse racing and river towns. The men in Andy Plattner’s stories are tough and uncertain, the women independent and disappointed, but they are strong-willed and high-spirited, always believing there’s a better life, just over the horizon, after the next race.

The title story depicts the life of a jockey agent who has seen some bad breaks but knows in his heart he can turn things around if he can just get some “winter money” to make a fresh start in Florida. In “Chandelier,” a bankrupt horse breeder risks everything again in an attempt to save a friend’s farm. “Eldorado” is the story of a young horse groom convinced an old car will be good luck for him, even though it could break down over the next hill.

Life at a race track is as desperately unpredictable as the next race, but the people bound to this life live only when they are taking chances. The lies they tell themselves and others run with reality to create new truths. The men and women of Winter Money live in motel rooms that rent by the week, where strangers can change the course of lives. Love and compassion come from unexpected sources, and, as a result, dreams and desired are nurtured and sometimes, against the odds, sustained.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction


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pp. 1-9


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pp. ix-x

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Winter Money

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pp. 1-13

I've been thinking about Tampa. I'm standing by the window of my room, 203, here at the Hightop Motel in Tomaston, Kentucky, holding the curtain back, watching the sky turn to ash. It's been like this all week. Tomaston has been a bad spot for Amanda and me. I would be surprised now if it didn't rain. ...

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pp. 14-25

My mother was from Philadelphia. She moved to Steelage, West Virginia, with my father after he graduated from Villanova. Steelage was my father's hometown. My mother was a few credit hours short of getting her diploma, a result of her cutting classes in the spring term of her senior year after she found out she was pregnant and going to marry my father in June. ...

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A World Record in Bay St. Louis

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pp. 26-45

I had two options after high school: go to work for my father as a salesman, which was what he wanted me to do, or become a horse trainer, which was what I wanted. College was no option. I did poorly in school and hated my time there. Pop had only completed two years of high school himself. ...

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pp. 46-64

I was standing on the slick concrete floor of the barn hall, smoking a cigarette, waiting for Clement. It was four-thirty in the morning and the dew on the roadside grass leading to the barn sparkled in the moonlight. Clement said he'd be here at five, but I hoped he would be here sooner and we could get this thing done. ...

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pp. 65-76

When I was seventeen and my brother was thirty, he and I shared a row house on Ferris Street in Covington. My brother's name is Kirby Fillapiano and he was a fairly sharp bookmaker who ran a profitable phone operation out of his room. Our mother had been going with different men when she had us. ...

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pp. 77-98

A man named Walt Cramer came to help raise Erny and me after our father disappeared in a pretty ordinary looking part of the Cheat Mountains. Dad and some other men had been doing routine work when a mine shaft caved in on them. Walt Cramer kept my mother going, though I was not sure she wanted to. ...

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Sophia Winslow's House

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pp. 99-111

From the ages of twenty-one through twenty-seven, I worked on a horse farm in Midlands, Kentucky, called Burroway. I started off there as an ordinary hand, then became a yearling groom, then assistant to the yearling manager. I had four men working under me, and the owner of Burroway, Harry Linderman, would phone the barn every so often to check on things. ...

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pp. 112-124

I met Marty, all five feet two inches of her, at Ivy American Race Course up near Harrisburg. She was galloping horses for a trainer named Radosevich, by no means a job for the fainthearted. Marty's arms were like steel cables. She was twenty-six, eight years older than me. ...

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pp. 125-137

For a year and a half, my father was a pari-mutuel clerk at Big Chimney Park, a crumbling racetrack at the base of the Brushy Mountains in West Virginia. One night after the races my mother woke me up. "Put everything you can in one suitcase," she said. She was sitting on the edge of my bed, smiling in pale yellow light. ...

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pp. 138-158

A couple of months ago I was awakened by a racket going on outside my room. I live on the second floor of a dorm behind the stable barns at Rollo Park. It's quiet back here at night. But this one time there was something going on, a car horn blowing, people talking loud. I stepped outside still in my underwear. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780820345901
E-ISBN-10: 0820345903
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820319582
Print-ISBN-10: 0820319589

Page Count: 170
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction