This short story project of mine gives me great relief and peace at the end of the day. I have to pick my stories quite carefully sometimes, to ensure that. And knock on wood, these eighteen days have been super. “I am a Neat Boy” by Joseph Smith is a bittersweet story of an old man, a drunk, who one fine day changes over because he has a date and wants to create the best impression ever. The story takes on from there, to what happens at the end.
Smith very gracefully and sometimes quite rustically tackles age. You want to know more about Michael and how he got to where he did. The story evokes these feelings in you, which is a job well done by the writer. The imagery of his travel to get to the place of the date, to the way he has been as a drunk are vivid and real. Smith makes you turn the page and yet stop and linger on what he has just said. I would definitely read more of his short stories from this collection.