Thank you. I’ve been thinking about that, lately. How nice it would be to send things to someone who would read them. Not just for a pat on the head, but to really push me. Thank you, if that’s what you’re meaning. I am happy to do that for you as well.
So. On to the story.
On reading it over a couple times, I’m struck by two things (that may be personal to me, so bear with me).
First, I have always felt Carver reveled in his nihilist, absurd universe. You can feel him seducing you with the darkness and grit (or trying, anyway). Your story doesn’t feel like you deep down enjoy the murk and think we should, too. It doesn’t feel like you’re wading in it. I know that’s a non-specific, kind of feel-y criticism. Sorry. I will try to do better.
Second: Stories need an arc. Even when the action is low key. The start needs to lead to the finish. (It sounds like I’m preaching, here. I don’t mean to.) An analogy: The first sentence is the step that gets the reader onto the path and moving. If the path is over level ground, the pace is what carries the reader along, with small descriptions as clues to make them think they are getting to the end before the writer, even with the pace.
Is any of this helpful at all?