Bring Your Legs with You

Bring Your Legs with You

Darrell Spencer
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qh8rd
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  • Book Info
    Bring Your Legs with You
    Book Description:

    A boxer who brings his legs with him comes to the ring with the strength and stamina to make it through every round of a tough fight. In this new collection, winner of the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, Darrell Spencer delivers fiction with just that kind of power.Bring Your Legs with Youcontains nine interconnected stories set in Las Vegas. Featuring various perspectives and narrators, they are filled with unforgettable characters, including Carl T. Plugg, a sharp-dressed, smooth-talking, non-hustling pool shark; Spinoza, the philosophical day laborer with "Department of Big Thoughts" lettered on the door of his pickup; Jacob, an arrogant lawyer who learns too late the dangers of swimming with the sharks; Gus, a man who has never seen his son fight despite his insatiable fascination with the sweet science; and Jane, a woman wary of her ex-husband, but still in love enough to share her bed with him.Above them all looms Tommy Rooke, retired prizefighter and self-employed roofer. Undefeated in the ring, Rooke walked away from boxing at the top of his game, to the confusion and consternation of his friends and family. As his father, former manager, and various other hangers-on encourage him to stage a comeback, Tommy moves through the gated communities and sun-blasted strip malls of Las Vegas, wrestling with personal choice, the caprices of fate, and the price the gods demand for our sins.More than a book about boxing, gambling, luck, and broken dreams,Bring Your Legs with Youdelves deeply into the life of its flawed but intelligent hero, a man deeply devoted to his friends but lost in a violent world. A writer unafraid to show the connections between people, Spencer delivers a hard-hitting collection filled with rich dialogue and spare prose.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7880-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[x])
  3. Bring Your Legs with You
    (pp. 1-21)

    My brain is not wired for chess, so the Tuesdays me and my dad Gus got together he punked me good, game after game. “One move at a time,” he told me. “Don’t be counting your chickens.” All that talk about calculating ten, fifteen plays ahead, Gus declared it crap. Be his guest, you’re such a pistol. You’re such a genius, you can calculate infinity? Because that’s the number of plays is possible. It ain’t like making doughnuts. “Go ahead, ace,” he said to me. “Tell me where I’ll be one play from now.” Trouble was I bogged down on...

  4. The Sweet Science
    (pp. 22-43)

    Where we kicked back, you got to talking, the bunch of us sitting around, cooking up half-baked hypotheticals about everything under the sun, particularly about ladies and the wonder they are, our BS rising like flood water, swift and with weight and consequence to it, intent on damage, and if you wanted another beer, you interrupted the deluge and said, “Don’t give me theory, give me the answer.” A cold Coors was in your hand before you finished the sentence.

    Our gang went back to the sixth grade, John S. Park Elementary here in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, none of...

  5. Death Care World Expo, Reno, Nevada
    (pp. 44-60)

    Here’s what I owned. The jaw I gave my boy Hector and the two professional weight-class belts I never lost. Boxing, middleweight division and light-heavy. Headed for the cruisers, I quit. Retired. Now I roofed houses for the clarity of the job. I owned the business.

    My gift? Calm in a storm of fists. You try to put something together in the boxing ring or out of it, and I don’t blink, not ever. I won’t let you manufacture a combination. I undo what you try to get done. I have hands and the accompanying footwork a bird dog named...

  6. How Would You Play This?
    (pp. 61-77)

    Carl T. Plugg’s game was what he called the marriage of two beautiful women—la boda de dos hembras, a connection between shooting pool and living life that his Pluggonian logic wrenched from the old joke about the guy who has a choice between marrying a beautiful woman and a woman who sings beautifully. Groom wakes up the morning after the wedding, rolls over in bed and looks long and hard at his new bride. Sez, “Sing, woman. Sing.”

    Plugg set up a shot on the pool table, buttonholed the foolhardy, and said, “It’s nine ball. How would you play...

  7. No One Is Going to Ask You to Sing
    (pp. 78-98)

    A snowball’s chance in hell. In a pig’s eye.

    You’re hearing Gus on UNLV football winning even one game this year. The news was out that the school had hired a new coach. UNLV was paying big money for a guy out of California. Me and Gus, we were sitting on his patio.

    Buffoon.

    Chump.

    Putz.

    Schmuck.

    AddSap.

    There you had Gus on me that I was damn fool enough to bet with him that that same football team and its big money Pac-Ten coach made a bowl game. The school was grandstanding was all.

    “Piss from honey,” Gus...

  8. Five Times for Disorderly Conduct
    (pp. 99-115)

    Dinner, but not a dinner party. Tommy Rooke’s father, Gus, won’t grant it that status. Twelve guests is all. Interested folk is how Gus describes them. The get-together is at Gus’s place near Red Rock. Tommy invited and accounted for—summoned, requested, dragooned, eventually, he figures, to be ambushed in this box canyon. He’s the focus of a certain kind of calculated attention. Tommy is attired, tuxedoed, a red carnation in his lapel, in honor—no one, as far as he can tell, has caught on—of Dino, of Dean Martin. Three a.m. this morning, Tommy watchedOceans 11on...

  9. Until Liquor Is Made Legal
    (pp. 116-137)

    “It’s a wuss game,” Tommy’s buddy Pete Hitchcock said to him. Subject was the softball on the field below them.

    Tommy toasted Pete and the softballers—Jack Daniel’s, and he said, “To wusses and their offspring.”

    Plugg rejoined Tommy and Pete. He had survived a journey to the public john under the stands. Plugg had asked Tommy and Pete to escort him, and they declined, saying they would come running if he wasn’t back in ten minutes. Right under his nose, just to rag him, they synchronized their watches. The young needling the old. Roasting Carl T. Plugg on the...

  10. You Missed Something Good with Hats
    (pp. 138-158)

    Three a.m., and Tommy Rooke and Jane were up and waiting on the police. Rare, but now and then, serious rain hit Las Vegas, summer gullywashers, and if you didn’t unplug Jane’s cordless, the phone dialed 911 on its own. They woke half an hour ago to a flash of lightning, followed by thunder, and seconds later, a dispatcher called, a woman this time. Tommy was the one who answered, said, “Delivery or pickup,” and Jane grabbed the phone from him.

    “It’s the weather,” Jane said to the woman. “We’ve been through this before.”

    Sounded to Tommy like they would...

  11. The Blues Is about Mans and Womans
    (pp. 159-176)

    Vegas Vic was being philosophical. Shit happens, Vic was saying. The world turns. The dog’s argument was Tommy Rooke had no right to the blues, not his own, not Humpty Dumpty’s, not the prizefighter’s.

    Take the test:

    Q. You ever walk the chain gang? (Provide documentation)

    Q. You been shot at, directly?

    Q. If number two is yes, was you coming in the front door or coming out the back door?

    Q. You been drunk for so long you wouldn’t know sober if it walked up, offered a hand, and introduced itself?

    Q. A lover (specify gender and orientation) died...

  12. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 177-178)