For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Cattle Haul”

Jesmyn Ward


I’ll be coming up on Houston soon. I hate the interstate through the city: everything all wide and complicated. They got too much room for something bad to happen. My first drive, I was right to the east of Panama City and some white boy driving a yellow pickup ran off the curb and swerved and ended up a inch away from my front tires. He fishtailed down the lane, and I thought that was it: I get my first drive and can’t even make it from Mississippi into Florida before I wreck the truck—just like that, I’m back in my daddy’s house, collecting change in cups. But Whiteboy got his truck under control and I slowed down and let him get on his way.

I couldn’t stop the truck: John-Lee had gave me sixteen hours to make it to Miami. By the time I got to Orlando, the caffeine had wore off, and I was starting to doze. So I opened the dimebag of crystal that I found in that old coffee mug my daddy gave me and I put a little bit on my finger and I breathed it in. My nose was flayed like a fish. I was up. When I came back from that trip, Daddy didn’t say nothing about it.

We read it in A Public Space Vol. 5.