Like a lot of my stories, “What Friends Are For” is set in the country. Dirt roads and the life along them have always been a fascination of mine. One I owe to my father who grew up in rural Ontario and whose childhood home stands—to this day, I believe—on a dirt road.
The story’s about a guy who tried to leave a reckless rural life behind without moving away. He’s moved up in the world and wound up an exile-in-situ if that’s possible. Now he’s about to learn how much he values his new life and whether the friendships he once enjoyed still matter at all.
I experience relationships as permanent things. We move in and out of people’s lives and forget many of those we meet. But we leave traces. And bigger relationships—especially formative ones—leave grooves. Sometimes ruts.
I started to write a story about something odd that happened one day in the bush. And I wound up exploring a man’s desire and ability to chart a new path.
If I’m making this sound like a schmaltzy bro tale about the ties that bind, keep in mind it’s for a noir anthology curated by Paul D. Brazill . There’s grit in the air and it’s not all road dust from a pickup passing by on a dry summer day.
It’s a taste of country in an international collection I’m damn proud to be part of.
Bio: Rob Brunet’s debut novel is STINKING RICH, from Down & Out Books. His crime fiction has appeared in Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, and Noir Nation among others. Before writing noir, Brunet ran a digital media boutique producing award-winning Web presence for film and tv, including LOST, Frank Miller’s Sin City, and the cult series Alias. He tweets @RRBrunet and rants at http://www.robbrunet.com.
Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is OUT NOW.