English Language and Literature ETDs


Dan Darling

Publication Date



A novel of fiction. John Stick, along with his two best friends, Spartacus Rex and Leon Flowers, rob a blood bank with the intent to sell the blood in Mexico. On the way, the ice cream truck that they have converted to transport the blood breaks down, and they become stranded in the desert. Stick notices that one of the bags of blood belongs to his ex-girlfriend, Cryopathria Rex, with whom he is still in love. Stick tries to take the blood back to Albuquerque out of guilt. Rex and Flowers stop him. The three men have en escalating feud, which leads to Flowers and Rex tying Stick to a tree and soaking him with several bags of blood and leaving him to die. Flowers and Rex ride south on a team of ostriches that Flowers has stolen from Crazy Patti LeBeau. Stick is rescued by a woman from Mexico named Alma. Together they pursue Flowers and Rex. On the way they encounter an alpaca farm, an Apache policeman named Chuck, the chupacabras, a vengeful Patti LeBeau, before they finally confront Rex in the Rio Grande gorge on the border of Texas and Mexico. The novel explores themes of masculinity, trauma, betrayal, friendship, and the American-Mexican border. It is constructed with particular attention to character construction and imagery. It fits into the broad category of Post-Western literature.

Degree Name

MFA Creative Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Aleman, Jesse

Second Committee Member

Shigekuni, Julie

Third Committee Member

Goldberg, Debra




Mexican-American Border Region--Fiction, Masculinity--Fiction, Betrayal--Fiction, Friendship--Fiction

Document Type