Each short story in this anthology relates the experiences of Tommy Geiger from the age of ten until he fails to return from an
elk hunt at age eighty-five.
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The main thing I remember about Butch Slade was the grin plastered on the face of his corpse. I donít suppose anyone thought anything about it, because thatís how he always looked: bloodshot eyes and tobacco-stained teeth bared between those lips screwed up at the corners. Now that he was dead and laid out in a pine box in front of País furniture store, everyone came to look at him. Come to think of it, I donít reckon heíd of minded.
I was only ten at the time. My Pa had the only furniture store in Lander, Wyoming. Besides bedsteads and tables, he sold caskets. Thatís kind of the way they did things back then. A hundred dollars would buy you a fancy hardwood casket stained and varnished like your parlor table. He didnít sell many of those. Most folks went for the twenty-five-dollar pine box with the nailed-down lid. It didnít seem to matter. None of his customers ever bragged or complained about their accommodations.