Sept/Oct 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 5 FictionMarch 19, 2024 |

The Dropper

The miner Fluharty fussed around with bird dogs, and he’d earned a few red and yellow ribbons on the field trial circuit, “way back when,” he’d say modestly. Beside his house stood the upturned blue barrel where the old man made them stand, their claws pinned to the curving sides, to learn steadiness as he murmured, “Whoa,” and circled them, keeping eye contact as they puzzled over the situation with their doggy brains. He flushed training birds with his foot from tip-up traps and made the dogs stand quivering through their temptation: “Whoa, whoa.” Fluharty could steady a dog, all right. The yard was full of cast-off kennel equipment, steel bowls, detritus. “Our people,” the current Senator’s uncle liked to say, “are adept at turning money into junk. But why shouldn’t they? A poor people should have as much right and opportunity to do stupid things as the rich, and with just as much questionable ostentation. That’s why they leave their belongings scat

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Photo of Matthew Neill Null
A writer from West Virginia, Matthew Neill Null is author of the novel Honey from the Lion (Lookout Books, 2015) and the story collection Allegheny Front (Sarabande Books, 2016). He has received the O. Henry Award, the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, the Michener-Copernicus Fellowships, and the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Susquehanna University, Null is at work on a novel.

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