At a page and a half, Annie Proulx’s story “55 Miles to the Gas Pump” is even shorter than yesterday’s story “The Blood Bay”. It also has a comedic tone, and while dark, it’s more tongue-in-cheek. In half a paragraph, Proulx manages to muster up more suspense than some authors can in an entire novel. For a few seconds, the reader wonders what is in the attic that Rancher Croom keeps locked from Mrs. Croom. The answer might come as a shock to the reader but not to Mrs. Croom.
The story has nothing to do with a gas pump but everything to do with people who live isolated from other people. As Proulx puts it at the end of the story:
When you live a long way out you make your own fun.