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Dying Cowboys

by Adam Moorad

Coo DeGraw banged his shin against something metal, but kept on waving and telling a spooky tale of tomatoes that grew teeth and ate an entire Midwestern town’s population. No one seemed to mind. Calamity emptied a round on the Japanese Beech. Eagle opened a chiropractic practice in the unit between New Peking Panda and Discount Tobacco. Dallas was wedged under the SAAB and Kim attempted to flip it, displacing both clavicles. Prawny juts protruded from his chest. That don’t look right, was the consensus. Summer rolled her neck. Popped her knuckles. Hold still, she said. This is gonna to hurt for awhile. She chopped and he rocked and bristled and florescent flutes steamed from his sockets. But the pain froze. I woke up and looked out the window. There, in the snow, in the parking lot, the Troll stood dragging a cigarette and shoveling. Jeasusbum was gone, probably to the rock gym. Someone’s father appeared back in the mossy shadow, touching it, wrapping around it adoringly.

Author's Note

Dying Cowboys is a vignette from a series of erasures. The initial works were liner, realistic and much longer. They were also pretty straightforward – and uninteresting. I like short & sweet. I like discombobulation. So I reworked each piece over time by slashing the sentences that I felt reinforced a given vignettes’ original context. This immediately changed the relationships among the characters and the relationship these characters shared with their surroundings. In fact, the characters took on new personas altogether. The works give off a confounding, surreal feel. From line to line, each reads more like a poem than a narrative flash. I like this. In effect, the conventional notions of setting, character and any other element of “plot” are nonexistent. The result being a much more spontaneous prose scheme that entertains, keeps the reader in direct contact, strings him or her along and (hopefully) rewards them.

Adam Moorad is a salesman and mountaineer. He is the author of four chapbooks and a novella. He lives in Brooklyn.

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