Nebraska Center for Writers

by David Wiltse

They called it home. "Sending you home, Billy. Back to your people, loving arms, bosom of the family, good for the body, good for the soul." But Billy didn't call it home; Falls City, Nebraska, was simply where he grew up, a scratch on the Great Plains with a population of a mere five thousand people, and at that still the largest town for fifty miles or more in any direction through the corn and wheat and soybeans. He had left it without a backward glance; it hadn't been home for years. The Service had filled that space for him for a decade and a half, whatever government-provided accommodation he found himself in, whatever city needed to be screened for malcontents, radicals, and psychos serving well enough for Billy Tree as a temporary base, a place to hang his hat and take his women and ply his curious trade.

Reprinted with permission
from Heartland
Copyright © 2001
by David Wiltse
St Martin's Press

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The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers