As you may know, FVP’s new Anthology, Free-flowing Stories, will be released online and at our sale on Dec. 6th.
Here’s a teaser and a snippet from the fifth story:
Henry Valentine is twelve years old in 1951, on the brink of manhood, and his town is celebrating their Founder’s Day in the county park. Right alongside are the people who serve the community of Windmill, Texas—the maids and sweepers and cleaners and butlers. As in all things when two communities live side by side, there are official and unofficial contests. Henry’s dog comes to the defense of a kid no one will support, and Henry must deal with the growing awareness that the sidelines are no place for a man to be.
“Wake up, Henry. We have to get ready.”
Henry Valentine opened his eyes at the light tap on his shoulder by his mother, Alice. She was leaning over him, the look on her face as usual one of slight exasperation at her twelve-year-old son, no longer a child and not quite a man, and nearly ungovernable as to his curiosity.
He threw off the sheet covering him—it had been an awfully hot summer night, and the sheet was mostly for the comfort of privacy. “I couldn’t sleep a wink, Mother.”
“Henry! You’re already dressed?”
“I got up early this morning and took care of everything. I even took a shower without you telling me to.”
The clink of a chain alerted Henry that Ralph was awake as well. “C’mon, boy. It’s time to get going.”
Ralph raised himself slowly, all ten years of his life showing in his movements. White dusted his muzzle and his legs. He was a mutt picked from a litter on a farm outside town back when Henry was two. And while he was officially the family dog, everyone knew—most of all Henry—that Ralph was Henry’s dog, and he slept in Henry’s room at night. The doghouse was more for show, anyway. The two girls used it as a playhouse now.
“I’m all set. Can we go now? I want to be there on time!”
His mother wrinkled her lips. “Henry, it’s not yet five o’clock in the morning. And you can’t wear your best clothes right up. We have to save that for later, for your speech for the congressman. Get out of that shirt and those pants.” She sighed. “Looks like I’ll need to iron your shirt with everything else we have to do this morning before we leave.”
She turned to the door and, without looking at Henry, continued, “Now get into your summer jeans. Find something with as few holes as you can. At least look like you have a mother who takes care of you. Breakfast is ready downstairs, and then we pack.”
◦ ◦ ◦
The gateway to the Los Cruces County Fair opened before them….