‘We who were not there cannot possibly understand how they came like flies: swarming up all of a sudden and buzzing over the horizon, thickening the sky with their heavy shadows. We were playing poker at Jimmy’s-beer sweating, fans going round and round, the sound of pool clicking the moments by. Everyone admits it: we all felt the dense Louisiana air disappear and an icy breeze slice through. Andy said Damn, threw his cards on the table and headed for the jukebox: full house and James Brown. I knew it like cold fingers crawling up the back of my neck. Something is happening old boy but I just folded quietly and waited to see how the chips lay.’
I often return to this short story, which seems as fine an example of slipstream as you could name, although I’m not sure Amanda Davis would recognise or even welcome the term. It’s not really a term I ever really liked myself, but it has dogged me, mostly because of my own foolishness at trying to pitch things outside the lines. Whenever I feel like defending that position, I remind myself of ‘Louisiana Loses Its Cricket Hum’ and remember the sense of surprise and intrigue with which I first experienced it, as well as remembering a talented young writer who died too soon.
Amanda Davis, Louisiana Loses Its Cricket Hum