Story — From the October 2013 issue

Sic Transit

Download Pdf
MicroFiche

There was a foul odor coming from the house—?the odor, as it turned out, of rotting flesh—?but nobody did anything about it, at least not at first. I was away at the time, my business taking me to the East Coast for a series of fruitless meetings with a consortium of inadequate and unserious people whose names I forgot the minute I settled into the first-class cabin for the trip back home, and so I had the story from my wife’s walking partner, Mary Ellen Stovall, who makes her living in real estate. We’d always wondered about that house. We went by the place nearly every day, my wife Chrissie and I, running errands or strolling down to the beach club or one of the shops or restaurants on the main road. The houses around it—?tasteful, well kept, and very, very pricey—?were what you’d expect from a California coastal community, in styles ranging from craftsman to Spanish mission to contemporary, most of them older homes that had been extensively remodeled, in some cases taken right down to the frame or even the original slab. But what this one looked like was anybody’s guess, because the trees and shrubbery had long since gone wild, so that all you saw was a curtain of green enclosing a gravel drive, in the center of which stood—?or rather, listed—?an ancient, rust-spattered Buick the size of our two Priuses combined.

This article is only available to magazine subscribers. If you are a subscriber, please sign in. If you aren't, please subscribe below and get access to the entire Harper's archive for only $34.99/year.

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Download Pdf
Share

More from T. C. Boyle:

Fiction From the October 2007 issue

Admiral

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $34.99

United States Canada

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2014

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quinoa Quarrel

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

You Had to Be There

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Study in Sherlock

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content