Exchange Between Two Students Concerning the Death of Frank McCourt • Thomas Cochran

Boy: I heard about that, yeah. Too bad.

Girl: Yeah, it is.


Boy: Cancer, right?

Girl: I think so, yeah.

Boy: Man.

Girl: Yeah.


Boy: How old was he anyway?

Girl: Seventy-something, I’m pretty sure.

Boy: Okay then. Normal lifespan.

(A longer pause)

Boy: I guess he’s the ashes now.

Girl: Yeah.


Girl: It’s just a matter of time.


Thomas Cochran was raised in Haynesville, 
Louisiana. His work includes the novels 
Roughnecks (Harcourt) and Running the Dogs 
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The former was 
a National Book Award for Young People’s 
Literature nominee. Non-fiction and poetry 
have appeared under his name in Oxford 
American, Rattle, Gray’s Sporting Journal, 
and other publications. He currently lives 
with his wife on some acres in rural northwest Arkansas.