“They hunted for two hours and saw no deer, no tracks, no sign. Finally they stopped by the creek to eat. Kenny had several slices of pizza and a couple of candy bars; Frank had a sandwich, an apple, two carrots, and a square of chocolate; Tub ate one hard-boiled egg and a stick of celery.

‘You ask me how I want to die today,’ Kenny said, ‘I’ll tell you burn me at the stake.’ He turned to Tub. ‘You still on that diet?’ He winked at Frank.

‘What do you think? You think I like hard-boiled eggs?’

‘All I can say is, it’s the first diet I ever heard of where you gained weight from it.’

‘Who said I gained weight?’

‘Oh, pardon me. I take it back. You’re just wasting away before my very eyes. Isn’t he, Frank?’

Frank had his fingers fanned out on the stump where he’d laid his food. His knuckles were hairy. He wore a heavy wedding band and on his right pinkie another gold ring with a flat face and an ‘F’ in what looked like diamonds. ‘Tub,’ he said, ‘you haven’t seen your own balls in ten years.’

Kenny doubled over laughing. He took off his hat and slapped his leg with it.

‘What am I supposed to do?’ Tub said. ‘It’s my glands.’”

from Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories by Tobias Wolff, 2008. Read the entire story starting on page 20 by clicking HERE.

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