Excerpt from Wyoming by JP Gritton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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by JP Gritton

Wyoming by JP Gritton X
Wyoming by JP Gritton
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    Nov 2019, 246 pages


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Ian Muehlenhaus
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"What's a matter?" she said.

I was pulling up my jeans, fastening the buttons.

"Just worried somebody's liable to see."

She give out with that bell-laugh now: "Nobody'll see," she said. "Windows is fog up."

She was right. They were gray against the wet and cool of the outside. It was fall, sure.  When I looked down at her, she dragged me to her lips again.

"What're you thinking about?" she said.

But how do you explain you're thinking about nothing and everything all at once?

"Where you think they went?" I said after a while.


"Mike. And May."

She was quiet for a second.

"What're you thinking about them for?"

Here's why: it was occurring to me, if we'd used the front seat of Syrena's car, that didn't leave anywhere but the cab of my truck. I'd find them sprawled out, one white knee against the windshield, one foot dangling out the window. I got out of Syrena's car quicker than you could say Starbuck, crossed that lot at a dead run. I don't know rightly what I was fixing to do. I believe I would've tore her out of that truck by her hair. I'd have stood over him, my whole body shaking. I knew it then, knew my hands could kill if they wanted.

But the truck was empty, I'd locked the doors like usual, the only thing inside was the bandana Mike had forgot up on the dash. I turned and walked back toward the bar. Syrena was waiting by them great big double doors. She took my hand, smiling.

"You're crazy," she told me. "What's the matter with you."

We come in right as the Clay County boys were going out. They watched me in that half-jealous, half-curious way boys do, holding the door open. Glad to meet you, they said. I felt so mean right then, I didn't answer back.

Mike and May had set themselves down in a booth, Mike had his arm over May. And I thought to myself that May had told me a sort of lie: that there wasn't anything to be in this life but somebody's sidekick. Now Mike belonged to her, or she belonged to him. Listen good to what I'm saying: that's how this shit works, we're all of us sidekicks to somebody else, except the ones who aren't.

"Where'd you two get off to?" Mike wanted to know.

I guess I'd kind of swallowed my tongue. It was Syrena who answered him, after a while. None of your beeswax, she told him, and boy she was right about that, wasn't anybody's problem but our own. She was holding very tight to my hand. I didn't like it any more than I liked that laugh of hers.

Now she looked at my sister: "What are you looking at me like that for, May?"

But May didn't say anything, just moved her eyes over Syrena's face, then mine, wondering things it wouldn't have been polite to put into words. I asked what time it was.

Mike shrugged: "Why? You tired?"

"A little."

"I'll bet you are," he said.

Syrena's laugh. Mercy.

May said, "Shut up, Michael."

He turned to her. He looked like he was fixing to say something smart, but all he said was sorry. Then he wiggled his way closer, fit his arm tighter round her shoulders. And I knew it then, everything was going to be different, and boy was I right about that. Not even a year, and we'd both of us be fathers. My son was born in April, Layla end of July.

Excerpted from Wyoming by JP Gritton. Copyright © 2019 by JP Gritton. Excerpted by permission of Tin House Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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