Thieves I've Known
Publication Year: 2013
Their names are Merrill, Omar, Shelby, Laika, Winston, and Toomey, but most people don’t see them. They are boxers in training and the children of fishermen. They are altar boys in a poverty-stricken parish. They are assistant groundskeepers and assistant camel-keepers. They travel with the circus, care for disabled siblings, steal police cars, and retrieve the stolen boots of a priest. Ranging in abode from Puget Sound, Washington, to Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, they are abandoned yet courageous and plucky children and teenagers living on the edges of society.
Thieves I’ve Known is a collection of powerful, moving stories about the lives of a redemptive and peculiar cast of young characters who become easy to know and difficult to forget.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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INTRODUCTION, OR NOBODY
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...sister bagged the groceries that tumbled down the conveyors, rarely look-ing up, a simple nod of the head at a thanks from a customer. The girl, Merrill, was fi fteen and tall for her age. The brother, Nate, was sixteen and trying to grow a moustache. He often wore a green knit hat. They didn’t talk much with the cashiers or the manager. A yes sir, no ma’am ...
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...in her warmest clothes in the dark. In the kitchen, she packed her book bag with apples and bread, some peanut butter. She added a map of Seattle, a carton of cigarettes she’d hidden at the top of a cabinet, and then brewed some coff ee on the stove. She walked barefoot in the trailer so as not to wake her sister and the boyfriend. It was still dark outside ...
THE LOST BROTHER
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...evening because of a strange, familiar shiver that frightened me. There was water down there, shin deep, and it was fi lled with silt and sand. My brother Albert and I had been trying to pump it out. I opened the gun cabinet and checked for his pistols, and sure enough there was one of them missing. I’d been worrying about him for a while. I’d felt some-...
THIEVES I’VE KNOWN
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...ate openings in the opponent’s defense and to land blows to the vulner-able points of the head and body from the waist up. Power originates as she pushes off from her feet; its degree depends upon her ability to link the muscles of the legs, the back, the shoulders, and the arms into a chain of force. A boxer’s attack consists of such basic blows as left jab, ...
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...was, and the two altar boys half- listened to the homily and stared out at the small congregation. Snow was falling fast outside, and many of the old people had stayed home, but there was one man—more ancient than any they’d seen—sitting in the back of the church, and he was obvi-ously a homeless man and a little drunk tonight. At least it seemed this ...
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...a young elephant and its trainer, upside down, make their way slowly across the tent grounds. The elephant’s trunk keeps tickling the arm-pit of the trainer, and the trainer swats it away, taps the straw at the ground with his short pole. The damp air smells of straw and the sweat of the circus performers. Some sour candy, baking somewhere. A tired ...
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...birthday, and I’d been looking out the window of the bus for most of Tennessee and into the Appalachians, watching the fog rise from the shoulder of the road and the patchwork of barns and homes near the state highway. A pale, spotted horse here, a brown dog lying on its side there, a group of young girls, about my age, dancing to music from a ...
THE PROBLEM WITH FLIGHT
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...pocket, not so much for good luck, but to keep bad luck away, a trick his mother had taught him. In the summertime, he never wore a hat after dark. Of these things, he was sure. An apple or a tomato without a bruise was bad luck, as was reading the obituaries, unless you knew someone in there. Bats brought good luck, but you didn’t want too many of them. ...
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...kitchen. The boy was seventeen, the girl almost sixteen, and their father sat at the kitchen table repairing a clock that a neighbor had brought to him. He was almost seventy, the father, and had long been deaf. His heart was weak now, and he was no longer able to work as a fi sherman, as he had for the whole of his life. There were fi lets of cobia baking in the ...
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...of people, in a variety of ways, in writing this book. This list is long, yet each thank- you is sincere, and I am most grateful for your encourage-Thanks especially to Ann Fitzmaurice, David Roderick, Chellis Ying, Jim Shepner, Terry Cole, Helen Kealey, Jack Kealey, Kerri Kealey, Scott Hutchins, Glen La Barber, and Shaila Djurovich for all of their moral, lit-...
Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction