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 looking up, a simple nod of the head at a thanks from a customer. The girl, Merrill, was fifteen and tall for her age. The brother, Nate, was sixteen and trying to grow a moustache. He often wore a green knit hat. They...
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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...
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 filled 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...
THIEVES I’VE KNOWN
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...create openings in the opponent’s defense and to land blows to the vulnerable 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...
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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 obviously...
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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 armpit 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...
THE PROBLEM WITH FLIGHT
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...Grimsley kept a fl ower stem in his 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...
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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 fisherman...
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...gave expert and generous advice about the book throughout this process. Thanks very much to Jon Davies, my editor, who guided me smartly and deftly throughout this process and who made many very helpful suggestions about the text. Thanks also to Sydney Dupre, who enthusiastically...
Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction