Fragments from books that don’t exist: Carmen’s Atrocious Pillow


Swinton Cargill sent the children off to place another bet and returned to swigging from his grandfather’s flask.

At this rate,” he thought, “I’ll be done with the old bastard’s fortune by Tuesday.

It had long been his goal to blow through it all, the whole kit and kaboodle as he liked to say, and while it lasted the children enjoyed these fine summer days at the track and all the pretty horses running around and around and around.

“All things must pass,” he’d tell them, and they were pretty sure he was talking about the horses and how the loser he’d bet on might just catch up. Of course it never would. He was too careful for that.

“You don’t want to win, ever,” he said to the oldest, Billy, who was only nine but beginning to figure things out.

“Once you win, you get a taste for it,” he continued, “and once you get a taste for it, you’re as good as gone forever.”

Like the old bastard,” he appended silently. “Thought he had it all figured out. Thought he could pull a better world right out of his hat, but I’m saving that hat for last, and into the incinerator with it, along with all the other wretched refuse he was so fine and dandy about.”

One more pull and he was done with the flask too, just as Proper Cadence came in last just like he wanted her to.

“Well, my boy,” he said to Billy, while Clara and little Stubby stood by. “It’s back to the shelter with you.”

“Aw,” Billy said, “Can’t we stay for one more race?”

“Sorry, lad, we’re all done here. You all did a fine job, though. Here’s another hundred for you each,” Swinton said, handing out the bills. The kids, who were no relation, eagerly took the money and ran.


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