StoriesLarge Print - 2009
Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons, Leon and Butch, take a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit the youngest Graney brother, Raymond, who's been locked away on death row for eleven years. It could well be their last visit.
Mack Stafford, a hard-drinking and low-grossing run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer gets a miracle phone call with a completely unexpected offer to settle some old, forgotten cases for more money than he has ever seen. Mack is suddenly bored with the law, fed up with his wife and his life, and makes drastic plans to finally escape.
Quiet, dull Sidney, a data collector for an insurance company, perfects his blackjack skills in hopes of bringing down the casino empire of Clanton's most ambitious hustler, Bobby Carl Leach, who, among other crimes, has stolen Sidney's wife.
Three good ol' boys from rural Ford County begin a journey to the big city of Memphis to give blood to a grievously injured friend. However, they are unable to drive past a beer store as the trip takes longer and longer. The journey comes to an abrupt end when they make a fateful stop at a Memphis strip club.
The Quiet Haven Retirement Home is the final stop for the elderly of Clanton. It's a sad, languid place with little controversy, until Gilbert arrives. Posing as a lowly paid bedpan boy, he is in reality a brilliant stalker with an uncanny ability to sniff out the assets of those "seniors" he professes to love.
One of the hazards of litigating against people in a small town is that one day, long after the trial, you will probably come face-to-face with someone you've beaten in a lawsuit. Lawyer Stanley Wade bumps into an old adversary, a man with a long memory, and the encounter becomes a violent ordeal.
Clanton is rocked with the rumor that the gay son of a prominent family has finally come home, to die. Of AIDS. Fear permeates the town as gossip runs unabated. But in Lowtown, the colored section of Clanton, the young man finds a soul mate in his final days.
Featuring a cast of characters you'll never forget, these stories bring Ford County to vivid and colorful life. Often hilarious, frequently moving, and always entertaining, this collection makes it abundantly clear why John Grisham is our most popular storyteller.
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Roger fired twice, hit nothing, but succeeded in changing the strategy of the gang shooting. Aggie’s Dodge was immediately sprayed with bullets from an assault rifle.
But the woman took the shot well and counterpunched with an unbelievable combination. She threw a right cross that busted the man’s lips, then went low with a left uppercut that crushed his testicles. He squealed like a burned animal and fell in a heap ...
“Fifty bucks a pint.” To Calvin, with $6.25 in his pocket, the price meant a cover charge, three watered-down beers, and another memorable lap dance with Amber. To Aggie, with $18 in his pocket and no credit cards, the deal meant another quick visit to the strip club and enough gas to get home.
“They make you lay down because most people pass out. The damned needle is so big that a lot of folks faint when they see it. They tie a thick rubber cord around your bicep, then the nurse’ll poke around your upper forearm looking for a big, fat blood vein. It’s best to look the other way. Nine times out of ten, she’ll jab the needle in and miss the vein—hurts like hell—then she’ll apologize while you cuss her under your breath. If you’re lucky, she’ll hit the vein the second time, and when she does, the blood spurts out through a tube that runs to a little bag. Everything’s clear, so you can see your own blood. It’s amazing how dark it is, sort of a dark maroon color. It takes forever for a pint to flow out, and the whole time she’s holdin’ the needle in your vein.”
Wayne, Calvin and Roger set for a road trip:
“I’ll send Roger,” an older gentleman offered, and this was met with silent skepticism. Roger, who wasn’t present, had no job to worry about because he couldn’t keep one. He had dropped out of high school and had a colorful history with alcohol and drugs. Needles certainly wouldn’t intimidate him. ... The great question was, Is he sober? Roger’s battles with his demons were widely known and discussed in Box Hill. Most folks generally knew when he was off the hooch, or on it. “He’s in good shape these days,” his father went on, though with a noticeable lack of conviction. But the urgency of the moment overcame all doubt, and Aggie finally said, “Where is he?” “He’s home.” Of course he was home. Roger never left home. Where would he go?
A hero quickly emerged. His name was Wayne Agnor, an alleged close friend of Bailey’s who since birth had been known as Aggie. He ran a body shop with his father, and thus had hours flexible enough for a quick trip to Memphis. He also had his own pickup, a late-model Dodge, and he claimed to know Memphis like the back of his hand. “I can leave right now,” Aggie said proudly to the group, and word spread through the house that a trip was materializing. ... “I’ll go too,” another young man finally said, and he was immediately congratulated. His name was Calvin Marr, and his hours were also flexible but for different reasons—Calvin had been laid off from the shoe factory in Clanton and was drawing unemployment. He was terrified of needles but intrigued by the romance of seeing Memphis for the first time. He would be honored to be a donor.
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