by Josh Rountree
The Last Picture Show came to the movie house on the square in the fall of nineteen seventy-one. We snuck in with warm cans of Pearl and sat on the back row so we could take quick hits off our cigarettes and snub them out before anyone noticed the smoke. I fell in love with Cybil Sheppard and figured she could wind me up just like she did all the guys in Anarene. I recognized that small town that had been something once but was now engaged in a battle with time. Every sandstorm, every gust of West Texas wind stripped away another layer of paint and vitality. That dying town was our inheritance.
When the movie ended we spilled out onto Front Street with our half-full beer cans stashed in our jackets. Dean Champion’s dad had been a big hat over at the refinery in Big Spring before he hung himself, so Dean had sprung for the beer. We piled into his Chevelle and I made sure I was in the back seat, squashed tight against Stacy Bell’s thigh. Once upon a time that prospect would have excited me, but that time had passed.