Deep in the landlocked heart of the Midwest, the characters in The Spoils are drowning under the weight of masculinity, paralyzed in the grip of things left unsaid. These men are broken and breaking, struggling to reckon with the decisions they ve made and those they have yet to face. Set mostly in and around Kansas, the stories in this powerful collection explore how men perform, in their jobs and personal lives, and investigate the gray area between doing what s best for oneself and acting a part to make others happy.
A man questions whether he should leave his drug-addicted girlfriend and her son or stay, sacrificing his own well-being to be the boy's father. Fed up with the role of the stooge, a Washington Generals player takes his A-game to the Harlem Globetrotters and has to face the unforeseen consequences. A rookie prison guard sent to procure a death row inmate's final meal commits a small, subversive act of humanity.
In a world where the line between right and wrong is constantly shifting, some struggle to do the right thing, while others eschew the line altogether and deal with the sometimes violent repercussions.
Casey Pycior was born and raised in Kansas City. He earned his MFA in fiction writing at Wichita State University and his PhD in creative writing at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He was awarded the Charles Johnson Fiction Prize at Crab Orchard Review, and his stories have also appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, Midwestern Gothic, Harpur Palate, BULL, Wigleaf, and Yalobusha Review, among many others. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife and son.