Mr. Tall: A Novella and Stories by Tony Earley:
Jesse James, while hiding from the law in Nashville in 1875, had lived for a time at the address where Mrs. Virgil Wilson’s house now stood. For years, Mrs. Wilson delighted in telling trick-or-treaters about the outlaw, but then one Halloween she noticed that the trick-or-treaters did not seem to know—or care—who Jesse James was. They also wore costumes that she didn’t recognize and that had to be explained to her—mass murderers, dead stock-car racers, characters from movies she’d never heard of, teenage singers seemingly remarkable only for their sluttiness—and she realized that she had somehow become the crazy old lady whose tedious stories you had to endure in order to get the disappointing candy that such crazy old ladies invariably offered. For how many years, she asked herself, had she been boring children with her tales of Jesse James, and for how many years had they been laughing at her as they walked away? Every Halloween since then, Mrs. Wilson had sat in her kitchen in the dark, listening to the radio at low volume and pretending she wasn’t home.