Sunday, March 28, 2010
LEGEND 5: Half A Pig by Matthew P. Mayo
“You hung yourself, boy. You know that sure as road apples are ripe year round.” Eamon Riggs stared at the sweaty, pocked face, but there was no sign that the boy heard him. His eyes kept that half-closed stare at nothing, as if he were bored and about to doze off. Like that his whole life, thought Riggs. It’s the Mexican in him.
The kid says nothing.
Riggs took a draught of air through his nose, his lower jaw canted as if he were considering how to answer a delicate question. His left hand struck out with his leather quirt and snapped at the beast’s haunch. The mule lurched forward, digging hard, and all three men in attendance watched the boy’s face finally show the light of interest, his eyes wide and pushing forward, his mouth stretched as if pulled from either side with fishhooks, his head and torso working back, then forward, like a pecking bird, black curls bouncing on his forehead.
Witnessing this are Dilly, one of Riggs’ oldest hands, and Pelt, new to the job and no older than the kid being hanged. “Half A Pig” is about what the hanging means to these two men, and what it teaches them about themselves.
There’s some truly fine writing here, and it was recognized recently by the Western Writers of America, as they chose this tale as a finalist for their BEST WESTERN SHORT FICTION STORY of 2009.
“Half A Pig” is just one of the 20 fine short stories (plus one of mine) in the Express Westerns anthology A Fistful of Legends, now available right HERE.
Matthew P. Mayo is the author of three Black Horse Westerns (so far) along with Cowboys, Mountain Men and Grizzly Bears: The Fifty Grittiest Moments of the Wild West. You can visit him at his website HERE.
For more, see the fine interview Richard Prosch did with Matt over at Meridian Bridge.
Legend 1: Dead Man Talking by Derek Rutherford
Legend 2: Billy by Lance Howard (Howard Hopkins)
Legend 3: Lonigan Must Die! by Ben Bridges (David Whitehead)
Legend 4: The Man Who Shot Garfield Delany by I.J. Parnham
Legend 19: Cash Laramie and the Masked Devil by Edward A. Grainger (David Cranmer)