Jim Shooter wrote the book that changed my life, the book that, I’m confident, landed me here. Here’s how it happened.
I’m twelve years old. We live way out in the country in West Texas, maybe fifteen miles east of Midland, an actual city—probably ninety thousand people then, thanks to the oil boom—but we’re not quite to Stanton, a little place of about three thousand. Stanton’s big compared to where we live, Greenwood. No post office, no mention on the map. Just a school and church on the same grounds, and lots of cotton fields, lots of pumpjacks, lots of pastures, and, every few miles, a house, a trailer out in the mesquite.
Every couple weeks, my mom would load me and my two little brothers up and we’d head into Midland, for groceries. It was a big event. Just shy of Midland, there was this gas station, Pecan Grove. We’d each get fifty or seventy-five cents and get to go in, buy a coke. Cokes were very rare in our lives.
One of those times—the Jim Shooter time—on the race back to the cooler for a Big Red or a Dr. Pepper, I saw something I hadn’t seen before.