Fetching Raymond: A Story from the Ford County Collection

Fetching Raymond: A Story from the Ford County Collection

by John Grisham

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345546586
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/17/2013
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 58
Sales rank: 26,392
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of a collection of stories, a work of nonfiction, three sports novels, four kids’ books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hometown:

Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Education:

B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Fetching Raymond
 
 
Mr. McBride ran his upholstery shop in the old icehouse on Lee Street, a few blocks off the square in downtown Clanton. To haul the sofas and chairs back and forth, he used a white Ford cargo van with “McBride Upholstery” stenciled in thick black letters above a phone number and the address on Lee. The van, always clean and never in a hurry, was a common sight in Clanton, and Mr. McBride was fairly well-known because he was the only upholsterer in town. He rarely lent his van to anyone, though the requests were more frequent than he would have liked. His usual response was a polite “No, I have some deliveries.”
 
He said yes to Leon Graney, though, and did so for two reasons. First, the circumstances surrounding the request were quite unusual, and, second, Leon’s boss at the lamp factory was Mr. McBride’s third cousin. Small-town relationships being what they are, Leon Graney arrived at the upholstery shop as scheduled at four o’clock on a hot Wednesday afternoon in late July.
 
Most of Ford County was listening to the radio, and it was widely known that things were not going well for the Graney family.
 
Mr. McBride walked with Leon to the van, handed over the key, and said, “You take care of it, now.”
 
Mr. McBride walked with Leon to the van, handed over the key, and said, “You take care of it, now.”
 
Leon took the key and said, “I’m much obliged.”
 
“I filled up the tank. Should be plenty to get you there and back.”
 
“How much do I owe?”
 
Mr. McBride shook his head and spat on the gravel beside the van. “Nothing. It’s on me. Just bring it back with a full tank.”
 
“I’d feel better if I could pay something,” Leon protested.
 
“No.”
 
“Well, thank you, then.”
 
“I need it back by noon tomorrow.”
 
“It’ll be here. Mind if I leave my truck?” Leon nodded to an old Japanese pickup wedged between two cars across the lot.
 
“That’ll be fine.”
 
Leon opened the door and got inside the van. He started the engine, adjusted the seat and the mirrors. Mr. McBride walked to the driver’s door, lit an unfiltered cigarette, and watched Leon. “You know, some folks don’t like this,” he said.
 
“Thank you, but most folks around here don’t care,” Leon replied. He was preoccupied and not in the mood for small talk.
 
“Me, I think it’s wrong.”
 
“Thank you. I’ll be back before noon,” Leon said softly, then backed away and disappeared down the street. He settled into the seat, tested the brakes, slowly gunned the engine to check the power. Twenty minutes later he was far from Clanton, deep in the hills of northern Ford County. Out from the settlement of Pleasant Ridge, the road became gravel, the homes smaller and farther apart. Leon turned in to a short driveway that stopped at a boxlike house with weeds at the doors and an asphalt shingle roof in need of replacement. It was the Graney home, the place he’d been raised along with his brothers, the only constant in their sad and chaotic lives. A jerry-rigged plywood ramp ran to the side door so that his mother, Inez Graney, could come and go in her wheelchair.
 
By the time Leon turned off the engine, the side door was open and Inez was rolling out and onto the ramp. Behind her was the hulking mass of her middle son, Butch, who still lived with his mother because he’d never lived anywhere else, at least not in the free world. Sixteen of his forty-six years had been behind bars, and he looked the part of the career criminal—long ponytail, studs in his ears, all manner of facial hair, massive biceps, and a collection of cheap tattoos a prison artist had sold him for cigarettes. In spite of his past, Butch handled his mother and her wheelchair with great tenderness and care, speaking softly to her as they negotiated the ramp.
 
Leon watched and waited, then walked to the rear of the van and opened its double doors. He and Butch gently lifted their mother up and sat her inside the van. Butch pushed her forward to the console that separated the two bucket seats bolted into the floor. Leon latched the wheelchair into place with strips of packing twine someone at McBride’s had left in the van, and when Inez was secure, her boys got settled in their seats. The journey began. Within minutes they were back on the asphalt and headed for a long night.
 
Inez was seventy-two, a mother of three, grandmother of at least four, a lonely old woman in failing health who couldn’t remember her last bit of good luck. Though she’d considered herself single for almost thirty years, she was not, at least to her knowledge, officially divorced from the miserable creature who’d practically raped her when she was seventeen, married her when she was eighteen, fathered her three boys, then mercifully disappeared from the face of the earth. When she prayed on occasion, she never failed to toss in an earnest request that Ernie be kept away from her, be kept wherever his miserable life had taken him, if in fact his life had not already ended in some painful manner, which was really what she dreamed of but didn’t have the audacity to ask of the Lord. Ernie was still blamed for everything—for her bad health and poverty, her reduced status in life, her seclusion, her lack of friends, even the scorn of her own family. But her harshest condemnation of “Ernie was for his despicable treatment of his three sons. Abandoning them was far more merciful than beating them.
 
By the time they reached the highway, all three needed a cigarette. “Reckon McBride’ll mind if we smoke?” Butch said. At three packs a day he was always reaching for a pocket.
 
“Somebody’s been smokin’ in here,” Inez said. “Smells like a tar pit. Is the air conditioner on, Leon?”
 
“Yes, but you can’t tell it if the windows are down.”
 

What People are Saying About This

Pat Conroy

Ford County is the best writing John Grisham has ever done.—Pat Conroy

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Fetching Raymond: A Story from the Ford County Collection 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's like he forgot to write the last part of the book. I was seriously expecting another chapter. Grisham has lost his luster. This was a terrible short story.
renegadeTS More than 1 year ago
What can one say... I have ALL Johns books as well as Theo Boone... this guy is a master! I read over 100 books a year... He is by far my favorite! NUFF SAID!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was a good story. I did not realize that it was so short. Very easy quick read. Always enjoy reading John Grisham.
norm32 More than 1 year ago
I do not believe John Grisham is capaable of writing a bad book. He is one of the great story-tellers of our time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book from one of the nations greatest crime story writers. Where are all the fair book book review writers to give a deserving report?
pinkgirl54 More than 1 year ago
Being from Mississippi, I love all of John Grisham's books. This was a great short story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it. As I do all of Grisham's reads. Almost wanted more, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perhaps because I am a new NOOK reader/owner, I expected a BOOK! Not an excerpt that was about 80 pages long. It lacked everything. I have a lot of actual books by John Grisham and had not seen the paper version of a "Ford County" book so I have no comparison. I am sorry I bought it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
39 pages for a book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Grisham can and will take you to the edge bring you back and make you forget which way you were going.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great
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GIG More than 1 year ago
Wasn't this story included in his Ford County collection?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This tells the story of a man on death row in the south, Ford county the scene of other Grisham tales. The prisoner Raymond has been on death row and today is the day. The story delves into the journey of his family from home to the prison with a borrowed van. The real tale is the lives of the three sons in the family and their mother. All the sons have criminal records and prison time. Raymond the youngest is on death row for killing a deputy. In a few pages you know the family with the three sons and you are taken into the prison to be a witness to the execution. The execution is the plot, but the richness of the short tale is the development of the characters.
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