A little bit ago, I mentioned a writer by the name of Sam Slaughter, who had selected a couple of my poems for publication while he was a guest editor.
You always kindly like that about a person. Enamors them to you.
Then I went and read one of his short stories.
He starts you right into the story from the get-go, no messing around taking too much time describing things like lampshades or awnings or the color of the damn shutters on the house. That kind of thing gives me ants in my pants when I'm reading.
But this story is smart, Slaughter is smart, and you can tell it. He crafts characters that walk right up to you and breathe in your face without any shame at all. You want to know what they're going to do and there's no time to talk about the shutters or the siding or the bird bath.
That's not to say Slaughter doesn't respect tension, because he does, and builds it artfully.
And the ending is perfect instead of happy, which is perfect. It wraps up in a real way that shows humanity as it is rather than how it looks dressed up for church.
I'm doing a bad job of this. Just do yourself a favor and go read Sam Slaughter's Black Mamba right now.