A Case of Mistaken Identity: Percival Everett’s New Collection of Stories

Publicity still from the film Dances with Wolves. Canadian First Nations actor Graham Greene portrayed Kicking Bird.

After a night in a motel I returned to the library the next morning and looked at images of Graham Greene. The man in my photograph did look a lot like Graham Greene, but also different. Regardless, I didn’t know where next to look. I decided to try the sheriff’s office.

The inside of the office was as nondescript as the outside and in fact so was the sheriff. He was a new sherif, though he was over fifty. I could tell because his clothes were so neat and crisp. His dispatcher was out sick and so he was manning the desk, he told me. I showed him the photograph.

Looks like that actor,” he said.

“I know.”

“What’s his name?”

“Graham Greene.”

“No, that’s not it. He was on that Chuck Norris television show.”

He scratched his head as he looked out the window. “Floyd something. Westerman. Floyd Westerman.”

“This man’s name is Davy Cloud. He’s Arapaho and he’s about eighty now.”

“Why do you want him?”

“I promised his hundred-year-old mother I’d find him.”

—From Percival Everett’s first short story collection since 2004, Half an Inch of Water, which is concerned with issues of race and identity, and family and community, and is set against the backdrop of the American West.

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