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Coronado

Cover of Coronado

Coronado

Stories
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Along with completely original material, this new collection is a compilation of the best of Dennis Lehane's previously published short fiction, including "Until Gwen," which was adapted for the stage in 2005 and appears in this book as the play Coronado. By turns suspenseful, surreal, romantic, and tragically comic, these powerful tales journey headlong into the heart of our national myths--and reveal that the truth awaiting us there is not what we would expect.

Along with completely original material, this new collection is a compilation of the best of Dennis Lehane's previously published short fiction, including "Until Gwen," which was adapted for the stage in 2005 and appears in this book as the play Coronado. By turns suspenseful, surreal, romantic, and tragically comic, these powerful tales journey headlong into the heart of our national myths--and reveal that the truth awaiting us there is not what we would expect.

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  • Chapter One

    This thing with Blue and the dogs and Elgin Bern happened a while back, a few years after some of our boys—like Elgin Bern and Cal Sears—came back from Vietnam, and a lot of others—like Eddie Vorey and Carl Joe Carol, the Stewart cousins—didn't. We don't know how it worked in other towns, but that war put something secret in our boys who returned. Something quiet and untouchable. You sensed they knew things they'd never say, did things on the sly you'd never discover. Great cardplayers, those boys, able to bluff with the best, let no joy show in their face no matter what they were holding.

    A small town is a hard place to keep a secret, and a small southern town with all that heat and all those open windows is an even harder place than most. But those boys who came back from overseas, they seemed to have mastered the trick of privacy. And the way it's always been in this town, you get a sizeable crop of young, hard men coming up at the same time, they sort of set the tone.

    So, not long after the war, we were a quieter town, a less trusting one (or so some seemed to think), and that's right when tobacco money and textile money reached a sort of critical mass and created construction money and pretty soon there was talk that our small town should maybe get a little bigger, maybe build something that would bring in more tourist dollars than we'd been getting from fireworks and pecans.

    That's when some folks came up with this Eden Falls idea—a big carnival-type park with roller coasters and water slides and such. Why should all those Yankees spend all their money in Florida? South Carolina had sun too. Had golf courses and grapefruit and no end of KOA campgrounds.

    So now a little town called Eden was going to have Eden Falls. We were going to be on the map, people said. We were going to be in all the brochures. We were small now, people said, but just you wait. Just you wait.

    And that's how things stood back then, the year Perkin and Jewel Lut's marriage hit a few bumps and Elgin Bern took up with Shelley Briggs and no one seemed able to hold onto their dogs.

    The problem with dogs in Eden, South Carolina, was that the owners who bred them bred a lot of them. Or they allowed them to run free where they met up with other dogs of opposite gender and achieved the same result. This wouldn't have been so bad if Eden weren't so close to I-95, and if the dogs weren't in the habit of bolting into traffic and fucking up the bumpers of potential tourists.

    The mayor, Big Bobby Vargas, went to a mayoral conference up in Beaufort, where the governor made a surprise appearance to tell everyone how pissed off he was about this dog thing. Lot of money being poured into Eden these days, the governor said, lot of steps being taken to change her image, and he for one would be goddamned if a bunch of misbehaving canines was going to mess all that up.

    "Boys," he'd said, looking Big Bobby Vargas dead in the eye, "they're starting to call this state the Devil's Kennel 'cause of them pooch corpses along the interstate. And I don't know about you-all, but I don't think that's a real pretty name."

    Big Bobby told Elgin and Blue he'd never heard anyone call it the Devil's Kennel in his life. Heard a lot worse, sure, but never that. Big Bobby said the governor was full of shit. But, being the governor and all, he was sort of entitled.

About the Author-
  • Dennis Lehane is the author of nine previous novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; and Moonlight Mile, as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. He and his wife, Angie, divide their time between Boston and the Gulf Coast of Florida.

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    HarperCollins
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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