Venus Holler was the most low-life part of town, so I already knew where it was. I stalled until late afternoon before I let myself drive down there. I felt instantly at home.
What I came to know: Venus Holler as a name was one of those cruel country jokes that sticks. It was a holler of small, square homes that leaned sideways a bit like a bunch of drunks who can’t quite hear each other. The holler naturally lay across the tracks from the decent citizens of West Table, but so barely across the tracks that trains made these joints quiver. If a train passed at breakfast time, all the eggs ended up scrambled. There was an awful chunky road through the holler, a road that had been paved out of pity once back in the bygones but had busted up over the years and lain unrepaired and become forever rugged. The houses have their roofs pulled down low over the front stoops, like hats worn at a sulky angle over hungry stubbled faces. Back in the heydays this was where the whores all had to live, the whores who serviced all the cattlemen and pig farmers who shipped their stock from West Table and went on toots during their visits, as well as the local lovelorn. The name got to be Venus Holler, I’m told, precisely because a goddess is the very last dame you’d ever expect to find there — but if you ever did, for three bucks you could fuck her too.
I’ve been griping about my inability to see the movie version of Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone because our local theaters are LAME. Tomato Red was originally published in 1998, but was recently reissued by Busted Flush Press. I highly recommend it, and I haven’t even finished reading it yet (which I hope to rectify either tonight or tomorrow). BFP is also reissuing Woodrell’s 2001 novel, The Death of Sweet Mister, in March of next year. I can’t wait for that! I’ve loved everything I’ve read that has come out of BFP; David knows his stuff, make no mistake about it!