Excerpts from Steinbeck’s Novel About the 2013-17 California Drought

“This drought emergency is over.
And now a Tesla approached, and as it came near the turtle it swerved to hit it.
Generations emerged from that Escalade, with dusty limbs and weary eyes and stories that the men in the cities wouldn’t believe even if they heard, stories the family knew were better kept to themselves.
“Now, I’m a proud man,” he said.
A trash can was on fire.
It was for art, the man said, with a confidence that almost made it so.
Some things a man keeps to himself.
“You here for the usual?” Jacquie thumbed through her wallet, touching each card with something like reverence, or maybe fear, or more than likely both.
It would have to be enough, she told herself, ignoring the shame and fear that rose in her throat, threatening to choke her.
Tom knelt in the dust in front of his almond tree, stroking its wilted limb with reverence.

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