Spring 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 2 FictionApril 1, 2008 |

Meantime, Quentin Ghlee

Quentin Ghlee had commandeered a nineteenth-century one-room schoolhouse abandoned out on the Mhuirich ranch, and the following summers he built on a lean-to with storage beneath it for mining tools, an underground compartment weighted closed by a massive chair. Every winter, hunters or snowmobilers, parties foraging in the wilderness area, even forest service or BLM officials had been known to break into buildings uninhabited during the heavy snows. Household utensils, appliances, or fixtures would disappear, even old phones or picture frames if they might be antique. But summers? Ah. Then Ghlee would return with the swallows, unearth what bare essentials he needed for shack existence, and work all day dynamiting and breaking rock in his mine. Finally, tired, dirty, and satisfied with his progress along a gold-bearing outcrop of quartz, he would set himself down in a well-worn folding chair and drink down the evening sun. Sunset was a moment that always surprised him and never

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M. M. M. Hayes has appeared in War, Literature & the Arts, Redbook, Gallery, North American Review, Hawaii Review, and others, has won a Katherine Anne Porter Award from Nimrod, and has been anthologized in New Stories from the South, Best of the West, and 2Plus2: An International Anthology. Hayes is editor of StoryQuarterly.

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