Excerpt from Red Now and Laters by Marcus J. Guillory, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Red Now and Laters

by Marcus J. Guillory

Red Now and Laters by Marcus J. Guillory X
Red Now and Laters by Marcus J. Guillory
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2014, 352 pages
    Mar 2015, 352 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Morgan Macgregor

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"You Frenchy's son?" Harold asked as the older boys gathered around me with looks of astonishment. I told you he was a legend.

"Yeah," I answered as humbly as I could, then left with Arthur Duncan and his foxy escorts.

Father won both events and left me under the care of a hideously obese woman who sold catfish sandwiches from an Igloo cooler so that he could flip his winnings with a throw of the dice. But I didn't mind because the main event was coming as the sky darkened and the stolen stadium lights illuminated the dusty arena. It was time for the bull riding.

There are only two rules when you're a youngster watching bull riding. Don't put your fingers in the fence and don't sit on the fence. Usually, when you become a teenager, you show your courage by sitting on the fence but only after you have stopped shooting duck water. Bull riding is grown men's business and deadly, as I would soon learn. After Arthur Duncan locked in a competitive time on his bull, a flurry of challengers came and went, most thrown off and some with rides too pathetic to garner any respect or score.

Then a gracile, pecan-colored man with a reddish brown "shag" (black folks' answer to a mullet) confidently hopped the fence into the arena and headed for the chutes. His Wranglers looked as brand-new as his floral-print Western shirt, both of which looked heavily starched. I smirked, remembering Father once saying, "Cain't trust no redheaded nigga 'cause a nigga like that grow up mad at hisself, mad at how his hair turned out."

"That's my daddy," Harold said as he joined me next to the catfish sandwich woman.

"Oh yeah?" I responded, rather impressed that his redheaded, pedophile father was a bull rider.

Harold didn't show up empty-handed either. Three prepubescent girls sat with us, smelling like candy, barbeque, cigarette smoke, and the all-too-familiar manure. They started pinching me.

Harold's daddy climbed onto the beast with hurried confidence, staring down at the animal's head with occasional nods to the chute boss and cowboys who strapped his right hand into the bull's collar. He nodded quickly and the chute opened.

The animal charged out of the chute with angry bucks. Up and down. Twist to the left, then the right. And Harold's father held on. You could hear Harold's heart racing as his father reached the eighth second.


The crowd roared. It was a fine ride indeed, worthy of a champion's score if only he could dismount. He was stuck, locked to an angry animal that only sought to get the damn tickling rope off its hinds. But Harold's father wouldn't let go. In fact, he couldn't. He was tied down to a series of ropes that extended to the bull's hinds, behind the ribs. This is a sensitive area for many animals that arguably may tickle if touched. The bull hates this feeling just as most people do when tickled. Then there's the cowbell that's strapped to the animal for dramatic effect but also confuses it with every ring. So this half-ton beast is getting tickled and a bell is mocking it. No wonder they kick like hell.

Cowboys rushed in on horses trying to side the bull so that the trapped man could grab a saddle and escape, but it was impossible because the bull was turning violently, scaring the horses away. Some clowns, the unsung heroes of bull riding, danced and gallivanted around the bull while others attempted to reach the strap to free the man, only to be gored by the animal, which still had sharp horns. One clown took a horn in the thigh and was thrown into the stands. A young girl screamed. Another clown took a horn to the back and quickly decided to permanently commit to a life in the church, jumping quickly out of the arena and dashing for his sister's rusted LTD along the dirt road. Better to be in church on Sunday, he thought as he headed back to Acres Homes while staining the faux velour seats with his bloody wound and singing spirituals.

Excerpted from Red Now and Laters by Marcus J Guillory. Copyright © 2014 by Marcus J Guillory. Excerpted by permission of Atria/Emily Bestler Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Zydeco Music

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...
  • Book Jacket: Look Alive Out There
    Look Alive Out There
    by Sloane Crosley
    After a brief (and thoroughly enjoyable) foray into fiction (with her 2015 novel The Clasp), Sloane ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter Sisters
    Winter Sisters
    by Robin Oliveira
    Winter Sisters begins with an epic blizzard (see Beyond the Book) hitting the entire Northeast of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.