Tim Gautreaux: Died and Gone to Vegas (Deal Me In 2016 – Week 48)

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Raynelle Bullfinch told the young oiler that the only sense of mystery in her life was provided by a deck of cards.

“Died and Gone to Vegas” is the first story I’ve read by Louisiana author Tim Gautreaux. It’s a short story made up of numerous shorter stories. A group of workers on an oil rig at the mouth of the Mississippi sit down at the end of the day to play cards. Of the group, Raynelle Bullfinch is the lone female but she holds her own with all of her male counterparts.

The Best American Catholic Short Stories: A Sheed & Ward Collection

While it’s not planned, one of the players tells a story which reminds another player of a story and then another and on it goes. Each story is pleasant, fun, mildly crass with a character who is down on their luck. If I would pick a protagonist from the bunch, I would say it would be Raynelle. She seems to provide a frame to the story in that she begins the game and, then, ends it with her dream of heading to Las Vegas to play cards with more sophisticated men than her present company.

The individual tales all have a Twain-esque feel to them in that they are humorous and “tall”.

And its always interesting when the Deal Me In fates deal up a story about a card game.

This story is included in my collection The Best American Catholic Short Stories. I read it when I selected the Four of Clubs for my Deal Me In 2016 short story project. My Deal Me In 2016 list can be found here. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.


5 responses to “Tim Gautreaux: Died and Gone to Vegas (Deal Me In 2016 – Week 48)

  1. A story with “Vegas” in the title is certainly promising fodder for DMI. The weird thing, though – at least to me, is that it was in your “Best American Catholic Stories” collection.

    As 2016 starts to wind down, I’m already thinking about my DMI 2017 roster and what themes I might have. I have a lot of ideas but have made no commitments yet. How about you?

    • From what little I read about
      Gautreaux on Wikipedia, it seems he prefers to be known as a Roman Catholic author as opposed to a Southern author. The collection I have has an interesting introduction about what makes a story Catholic. Most of the collection focuses on authors who have a Catholic background but not all of the stories are overtly Catholic. The other story by Gautreaux in the collection is called “Good for the Soul”. While I’m sure it’s a good story, “Died and Gone to Vegas” just sounded more interesting, so I picked it.

    • I’ve pretty much completed my list for DMI 2017. I just made some changes a few weeks ago. I’m going with a kind of geographical theme that could have some interesting comparisons and contrasts. I will probably post it this Sunday. Looking forward to what you will come up with!

      • I’m desperately trying to catch up on my DMI stories (as you may have seen by my frequent posts of late). I thought I might try to do the last few together on December 11th, which is the actual date in 1816 when Indiana became a state. That will take me writing about a post every other day for the next couple weeks, though. We’ll see.

        As always, I’m excited about next year’s short stories. I have a couple volumes of Pushcart Prize winners that I acquired this year. There’s also a corner of one of the big reading rooms in the Central Library that has the annual O’Henry prize winners (& finalists or whatever) volumes that I might use. So many options. I’ve thought about making 2017 my year of reading women writers and have 52 stories only by women, but that feels a little too limiting. I’m sure I’ll come up with something… 🙂

      • Doing the last few on Dec. 11th is a great idea! I’ve enjoyed reading about all of your Indiana stories this year. I bought a couple of collections this year that I’m using for 2017.

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