Excerpt from Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Dog Run Moon


by Callan Wink

Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink X
Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink
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  • Published:
    Feb 2016, 256 pages


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Rebecca Foster
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Dog Run Moon

Even in his current predicament Sid couldn't help but admire the dog. A magnificent bird dog for broken country such as this, no two ways about it. Sid kept going, hobbling, feeling the sharp rimrock make raw hamburger out of the soles of his feet. When he turned he could see smears of his blood on the flat rock shining black under the moon. And then, the shafts of headlights stabbing the jutting sandstone outcroppings. He could hear the shouts of Montana Bob and Charlie Chaplin as they piloted their ATV over the rough ground.

Sid hadn't stolen the dog. He'd liberated the dog. He firmly believed this and this belief was the fundamental basis for the disagreement between himself and Montana Bob. Montana Bob thought ownership meant simple possession. Sid thought otherwise. He'd been in town for two months and his path to and from work took him twice daily through the alley. The dog would follow his passing through the chain- link and Sid would whistle and the dog would raise its ears without getting up.

Sid worked at a sawmill that processed logs brought down from the mountains. The logs came in massive and rough, smelling like moss and the dark places where snow lingers into July. They entered one end of a screeching hot pole building, met the saw, and came out the other side, flat and white and bleeding pitch into the red- dirt lumberyard. The men that worked the logs and the saw were Mexicans mostly, wide, sweating men who worked in dirty white tank tops, their inner arms scabbed and raw from wrestling rough- barked logs. They spoke their language to each other and Sid did not know them. He kept to himself and did his work. He was a scrap man. All day he took cast- off pieces of aspen and pine, and cut and stapled them into pallets that were eventually piled with boards to be shipped out. All day he measured and sawed and stapled. His hands were pitch- stained and splintered. All day his mind ran laps, and after work he walked back through the alley, whistled at the dog on his way by, and drank three glasses of water in quick succession, standing at the kitchen sink in the empty trailer he rented by the month and hadn't bothered to furnish. Even with the windows open the trailer smelled like a hot closet full of unwashed clothing, and Sid couldn't stand being there unless he was asleep.

In the evenings he drove. Sometimes over to the next town, sometimes for hours until he ended up in the river valley at the base of the mountains where it was always ten degrees cooler. She lived there now and he knew her house but he never drove by. He couldn't bear the thought of her looking out from her kitchen window to see his truck moving slowly down the street. He could imagine how his face would look to her. Sun- dark. Gaunt. Too sharp down the middle like it was creased. Sometimes he got a milkshake at the diner and nursed it for the drive. No matter where he drove, he took the same way back, the route that took him around front of the house with the dog. The house where the east- facing windows were covered with tinfoil and Sid had never seen anyone outside.

At the mill one afternoon a full pallet of eight- inch- by- twelve- foot boards broke free of the loader and crushed the legs of one of the Mexicans who had been standing by the truck, waiting to tighten the straps. Sid, eating his lunch, saw the whole thing, heard the man's hoarse screams over the shriek of the saw until the saw was silenced, and then it was just the man, pinned to the ground and writhing, his eyes bulging, with sawdust coating the sweat on his bare arms.

That evening, Sid drove straight to her house, still in his work clothes. When he got there her car was in the driveway and there was a pickup truck parked behind it. Sid pulled in sharply and got out, not bothering to shut his door behind him. He was striding fast, halfway up to her porch, before he noticed the dried smears of blood on his pant legs and boots. At the mill, he and everyone else had rushed to the man, frantically teaming up to move the heavy boards from his legs. There had been blood everywhere, making the sawdust dark, making the boards slick and red and hard to hold. Now, standing in her front lawn, he looked down at his hands. He tried to clean out the rust- colored crescents under his fingernails, tried to rub the pine pitch mixed with dried blood from the creases in his palms. He was rubbing his hands frantically on his stained jeans, when he saw movement in the curtains over the kitchen window. And then he ran, sliding into the open door of his truck, spinning gravel up onto vehicles in front of him as he backed out at full speed.

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Excerpted from Dog Run Moon by Callan Wink. Copyright © 2016 by Callan Wink. Excerpted by permission of Random House, A Penguin Random House Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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