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Excerpt from

A Long Road
By
Craig Hartglass

Roy was fixing the toilet, installing a new flush valve, when someone knocked on the door. He was on the floor, loosening a bolt - a screwdriver and a pair of channel locks stuck out of his back pocket – and he wasn’t going to answer. But he did. And now he faced a black man a half-head taller than the doorway, with utility poles for arms.

“You Roy?”

Roy looked beyond the man to the green car sitting at the curb, its metallic finish bright as a gemstone. He wanted to say: No, Roy doesn’t live here anymore. His palm went slick against the doorknob. “Yeah. I’m Roy.”

“I came about Caroline.”

“Caroline?” Roy spoke the name as if it were the first he’d heard it.

“I have some of her things,” the man said. “Maybe I could talk to her.”

“There’s no Caroline here.”

The man cocked his head, squinted. He wore short pants and loafers, a short-sleeved shirt made of shiny fabric, the top two buttons undone, and a gold chain and cross around a neck that sported a vein like a radiator hose. “When’s she back?”


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