I picked up this volume of short stories by Brady Udall about six months ago after reading "Buckeye the Elder" in an anthology. This afternoon, I read "Midnight Raid"—a divorced father forbidden to see his seven-year-old son arrives in the middle of the night to deliver a pet goat—and reread "Buckeye," which I would be happy to read a dozen times more. Brady's so good at beginnings, middles, and ends. "Midnight Raid" starts like this:
Roy growls and gives me the evil eye from inside his doghouse. He's flustered; I'm fairly certain this is the first time in his life a six-foot-three Apache Indian holding a goat has walked into his backyard in the middle of the night. Roy, there under the comfort of his own roof, seems to be trying to come to a decision. He doesn't know whether to raise hell or to make friends with me. I slowly take a step closer—no sudden moves—and ask him, as sincerely as possible, not to make any undue racket. He pokes his head out of his house and yaps, causing the goat I'm holding to let loose a thin stream of piss down my leg.
I suppose this ought to be explained.
To tell the truth, I can't remember a word of Edgar Mint because when I read it I was working too hard. All I remember is how good it was, so I'll be checking that out from the library another time.