Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My First Mystery Story---Or Is It?

I work right alongside a bunch of Dell fiction magazines---Analog, Asimov's, Ellery Queen, and The Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. And I discovered, while thumbing through a few sample issues of each, that Alfred Hitchcock runs a feature called "Mysterious Photograph," where you're given a photo and asked to write a short 250-word story about the photo. ("Remember to include a crime," they say.) So, since 250 words is as nothing to an inveterate typist like myself, I decided to compete.

The photo shows a bunch of buffalo (or possibly bison) on a field, with two things that look like goalposts stretching up above them. Here's my entry, which I wrote on my lunch hour.


by David Ellis Dickerson

“Gee, Wendy,” said Lars. “Do you think it was such a great idea to sneak in to the national park with your dad’s semi, load up a bunch of buffalo, and then release them on the football field right before your school, the Winston High Buffaloes, plays an away game against your school’s rivals, the Laramie Coyotes?”

“Could that question have been any longer?” said Wanda.

“And then to picnic among them for the sheer danger of it! What a fun idea. I’m excited to be picnicking with you, Wanda,” Lars continued, “which is odd, because I’m not only terrified of buffaloes, but I have that heart condition I told you about where if I’m startled for any reason I might die and leave all my money to my half-sister.”

I’m your half-sister,” said Wanda.

“I know,” said Lars. “I love exposition.”

“Well, here we are,” said Wanda, parking the now-emptied semi. “Now take the blanket and let’s find a place with a good view. Somewhere where we can see both goalposts. I want to send the picture in to the Laramie Bugle.”

They found a seat and started eating.

“You know,” said Lars, thoughtfully gnawing a bundt cake, “The American bison is one of the largest wild cattle in the world, surpassed only by the gaur of Asia and the water buffalo of India. And it’s the state mammal of Wyoming, which is where we live.”

“Uh-huh,” said Wendy, fighting to keep down her nervous bile. They’d already violated a state law prohibiting the release of wild animals on or around school property. If they were discovered, it was back to juvie for Wendy. And this time, after her third strike, it would be hard juvie.

“The buffalo nickel was minted from 1913 to 1938,” Lars added. “And there’s also a buffalo on the new Kansas quarter.”

“Jesus Christ!,” Wendy said. “Have you been reading Wikipedia again? Because I’ll be honest, Lars, I find your constant nattering quite annoying. I always have, ever since we were kids.”

“Really?” said Lars, blinking back tears of bafflement. “Why tell me now, after all this time? I have to say that I’m . . . buffaloed.”

God, you’re irritating!” said Wanda, and she shot him with a Glock nine millimeter that she’d brought with them in the picnic basket, and which probably should have been mentioned earlier. But at least Lars is dead now. And the wind made a spooky sound.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story was my breaking point. I can no longer being a silent reader. Dave, you're awesome. Keep it up.

5/18/2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

Thanks, Bri! Feedback is always helpful, and if I'm entertaining you that's all I really want from life.

Now I'm kind of curious how many lurkers like you I have.

5/20/2006 9:57 AM  

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