Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Skull Collector, by Joe R. Lansdale

"The Skull Collector," by Joe R. Lansdale, in Collectibles, edited by Lawrence Block, LB Productions, 2021.

This is Lansdale's third appearance here.  

If a story is told in first person, style is character.  Here is our heroine describing her boss, a fence, dealing with a dissatisfied customer:

"He was a tough old guy, Ruby said.  Big, cold crack walnuts with harsh language, chase a squirrel up a tree with bad breath. She had to use an axe handle to sort the guy out a little.  It wasn't too bad.  He was able to leave on his own, though not without a certain amount of pain and difficulty..."  

That tells you a lot about Ruby, sure, but we also find out a lot about the narrator, especially that "It wasn't too bad." What does she consider a real problem?

Ruby has been hired by a Texas bigwig to steal a skull form a cemetery  -- I'll leave the reason for that a secret -- and she ropes our heroine in.  Things get worse.  Then they get worse.  And... you get the idea.

Here is the assistant fence describing the hasty exit made by two thugs: "Bridge Support and his Kemosabe left out of there so fast they didn't even leave body odor."

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