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The Agriculture Hall of Fame

The Agriculture Hall of Fame: Stories

Andrew Malan Milward
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    The Agriculture Hall of Fame
    Book Description:

    These powerful stories limn the complexities and dilemmas of life in Kansas, a state at “the center of the center of America,” as a billboard in one story announces. Andrew Malan Milward explores the less visible aspects of the Kansas experience—where its agrarian past comes into conflict with the harsh present reality of drugs, fundamentalism, and corporatism, relegating its agrarian identity to museums and amusement parks. Presented in a triptych, the stories in Milward’s debut collection range across a varied terrain, from tumbledown rural barns to modern urban hospitals, revealing the secrets contained therein.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-205-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[xi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [xii]-[xv])
  3. Quail Haven, 1989
    (pp. 1-3)

    Our father comes home from work, grumbling and flatulent. He steps out of the old Ford and into the house and grunts, brushing past my brother and me as we try to grab hold of his belt loops and pull at the cuffs of his trousers. We follow him around, picking up his tie, abruptly loosed at five o’clock, and gently we lay it at the foot of the bed. And then our mother appears, smoothing the lines of her apron, unaware of that spot of flour that has collected on her cheek, spat from a thunderous rolling pin. She...

  4. Skywriting
    (pp. 4-22)

    “Houses this big should be called estates,” said M as she got out of the car, pulling her long, black dreads off her shoulders and into a ponytail. We stood in the driveway, taking in the place I was to watch while my mother’s friends were out of town for the Fourth of July weekend. I knew the Mission Hills homes were big, but living in a hole on 39th St. hadn’t provided many encounters with the Kansas City elite, these people who won awards for their mailboxes. At twenty-seven I felt ashamed for taking such a handout from my...

  5. The Agriculture Hall of Fame
    (pp. 23-44)

    25__________ Together they walked out into the midmorning light and it felt like walking out of the old summer matinees of her childhood, the world surprising her with its presence. It put her in a mood to wander, or linger rather, and instead of getting in the car to head back to El Dorado she led him around town. Earlier, as she exited off I-70, she’d seen a sign along the highway for a hotel still twenty miles on yet that said “How About Doing Some Time in Leavenworth?” and had a cartoon man in black and white prison clothes...

  6. John
    (pp. 45-51)

    His name was Barish and as we shook hands again, for the first time in several months, I could still smell the way he would pour on his cologne. Never to his face, I used to call it “the Turkish shower.” He smiled and I smiled back, our hands locked. It was a surprisingly warm October evening, so we decided to sit on the deck of an off-campus bar that made its own beer, overlooking all of Wichita. It had been one of our favorite haunts when we lived together, but I hadn’t been back since. The previous year we’d...

  7. Two Back, 1973
    (pp. 52-64)

    Before he let it kill him, the barn saved his life.

    They called it Two Back because it belonged to Robert “Two Back” Cannery, who was once caught in the Johnston’s wheat field making the beast with two backs all by himself. “Drop your pecker and get back to work, Cannery. Only thing I’m paying you to thresh is the wheat,” Mr. Johnston had said, who was the father of one of Cannery’s friends. They were in high school then, just kids, and had been suffering through Shakespeare in sophomore English that semester, so the nickname seemed to just present...

  8. Birthday
    (pp. 65-83)

    There was a rhythm to it, the starting and stopping, and despite the fact that there were no other cars on the road, Alan came to full and complete rests at every intersection. He was driving west, up side streets on the periphery of Lawrence Memorial Hospital, having to pause every hundred feet or so of the grid at a stop sign. He thought this would be a quicker route to the highway, but, in his exhaustion, had failed to realize that at 2 a.m. the main roads wouldn’t have been crowded. The lulling quality of this cycle betrayed the...

  9. Ulysses
    (pp. 84-89)

    “Oh goody,” she says from behind the check-in desk, looking at my arms. “They’re gonna love you over there. I could wait all day and not see veins like these.” Having stood in line for nearly two hours I feel like I have been waiting all day, but I just smile and say, “There sure are a lot of people.” She tussles papers around, then looks up suddenly. “You’re doing a great thing,” she says, touching my arm. Her latex gloves make me think of condoms, but she’s old, and a lady, and the thought is sinister. She hands me...

  10. The Cure for Cancer
    (pp. 90-112)

    Before she was diagnosed—before the disease—my sister drove up from Lawrence to help me move into my new apartment in Kansas City, to “keep tabs on her little brother,” she said. It had always been her joke, that I was younger than her, seemingly since she came out of the womb thirteen months before me. I had just moved back to the area after two aborted attempts at law school in Iowa City. In an effort to erase some of my college debt I applied for and, still to my mild surprise, accepted a teaching assignment at an...

  11. The Antichrist Chronicles
    (pp. 113-135)

    In the months before the lake disappeared, I began having lunch every day with my high school guidance counselor. It was early in the semester, a few weeks into my final year of high school, and I’d taken to eating my lunches with her because Joby had a different lunch period. The counselor’s name was Susan and she had the undeserved surname of Cox. It was a name for pranking and practical jokes, a name to be yelled over the intercom by juvenile delinquents during the pledge of allegiance, as Robbie Toobler did the previous spring:Ms. Cox I need...

  12. Silver Creek, 1969
    (pp. 136-142)

    Do you remember? Do you remember that barn, Colton? Silver Creek. And that man, the big one, who got me. We’d hid inside his drafty barn for three days, cheeks pressed hard to the slats, hoping he wouldn’t find us. Damn, these years. The tortures of a long memory are endless hours to think back on it all, wondering where you are now. Remember how we started out? Two lost souls with no jobs, telling tales, saucing it up in the cheapest bar in Kansas City, Kansas. You said hey to me that first night and we talked for the...

  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 143-144)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 145-148)