Short Story Saturday
Richard Ford - "Rock Springs"
This is a story about a guy, Earl, his girlfriend, Edna, his daughter, Cheryl, and a little dog, Duke, who hit the road one day, headed for Florida. Earl seems to be a nice enough guy, but apparently in some trouble with the law, so he steals a car – a cranberry colored Benz – and the whole troop sets off from Montana. Only, the car dies on them on their way into a town called Rock Springs. Earl walks to a trailer park which is located very close to a plant of some sort [later to be revealed as a goldmine]. He is allowed into a trailer to make a call for a cab [having previously driven the stolen car into a ditch to hide it], the cab takes them to a nice hotel and Edna, who has been in a bad mood, tells Earl she will be getting on a bus in the morning to head back to Montana. It ends with Earl going out to the hotel parking lot looking for another car to steal.
I’m not sure if I’ve described how I rate short stories before. It’s a very complicated system: A minus sign, [ - ], means I didn’t like it. A plus sign, [ + ], means I did.
I hope that makes sense, like I said, complicated.
This story had good parts, pretty OK dialogue, but it didn’t have a “wow factor” to it. I’ve read short stories where I am like “More!”, but Richard Ford did not do that for me.
Edna was annoying. The only reason I felt like we should like her was because Earl did, but I think even he really didn’t. At the end, with her decision to leave, it seemed to be less about her leaving and more about the fact that Earl was going to have to take care of his daughter on his own from then on.
The only interesting part in the story, for me, was Edna’s anecdote about winning a monkey named Chipper [later to be renamed Mary] from a guy in a bar. One night, in an act of paranoia, she leashes the monkey on a chair to a door, in fear that the monkey might try to kill her in the night. Upon waking, the monkey was strangled, having fallen off the chair. And then Edna puts it in a garbage bag and throws it away. That little narration was the most interesting part of the story.
Anyway, unfortunately this story got a [ - ], sorry Mr. Ford. It just didn’t ring any bells for me.
On to reading!