Set mostly in East Texas, Arkansas, and northern Louisiana, Wier's pointillist stories zero in on small towns, lonely people, conditions of solitude--often with little more than a portrait of a character or a small action. The life of an underground caverns guide; a junk-shop owner; a prisoner in jail; a lonely boy's growing up and his imaginary friends. The best piece--""Mr. Ollie, Think of the Baseball""--gathers its strengths around a centrally fond metaphor: three old retirees at a minor-league night baseball game, one of whom, Mr. Ollie, catches a foul ball--that most astounding of commonplace miracles. Wier has a tendency, however, to shoehorn in a message; in ""Mr. Ollie,"" there's an explicit parallelism between baseball and life, the ball and the moon (God is called ""the great pickoff man in the sky""). But left unshaped, this story--and one or two others--has an accuracy of ambience and an admirable care of language.