Friday, January 25, 2019

The Bandit


“I guess you can tell readers of The New Democrat there’s no profit in crime.”
“Well, there’s profit and profit.” He stood up, working the stiffness out of his joints and lifted his suitcase.
Brundage hesitated in the midst of closing his notebook.
“Twenty-nine years of your life a fair trade for a few months of excitement?”
“I don’t reckon there’s much in life you’d trade half of it to have. But in them days a man either broke his back and his heart plowing rocks under in some field or shook his brains loose putting some red-eyed horse to leather or rotted behind some counter in some town. I don’t reckon I’m any older now than I would have been if I done any of them things to live. And I wouldn’t have no youngster like you hanging on my every word neither. Them things become important when you get up around my age.”
Loren Estleman has written a poignant elegy to an aged badman in this well-pointed tale. It has the author’s usual earmark of well-researched authenticity that is folded easily into a brisk and mature narrative.
A superlative example of the genre.

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